Here’s all the latest commercial aviation news, brought to you by Travel Weekly…
Air New Zealand ramps up domestic schedule
Air New Zealand has increased its domestic schedule for August to 70 per cent of pre-COVID-19 levels.
The airline had planned to operate around 55 per cent of its usual domestic capacity (compared to pre-COVID-19 levels) during August.
Air New Zealand is also working with the New Zealand government to align incoming international arrivals with available isolation facilities.
The move is to help ensure the country is able to continue to provide quarantine accommodation for inbound passengers for the required 14-day period.
The airline has had a hold on international services into New Zealand since early July, following a request from the government.
Singapore Airlines raises additional $761.5 million
Singapore Airlines has successfully raised an additional S$750 ($761.5 million) through long-term loans secured on some of its Airbus A350-900 and Boeing 787-10 aircraft.
With the completion of these transactions, the carrier has now raised a total of S$1.65 billion ($1.68 billion) from secured financing since the start of the 2020-21 financial year.
The total liquidity raised by Singapore Airlines during the same period now stands at approximately S$11 billion ($11.2 billion).
United extends mask requirements at airports
United Airlines has announced that customers will be required to wear a face covering in the more than 360 airports where the airline operates around the world.
This includes United customer service counters and kiosks, United Club locations, and United’s gates and baggage claim areas.
If customers refuse to comply, they may be refused travel and banned from flying United at least while the mask requirement is in place. This will be effective for all customers traveling on and after 24 July, regardless of when their ticket was purchased.
United will also strengthen its mask exemption policy by only excluding children under the age of two. If a passenger believes that there are extraordinary circumstances that warrant an exception, they should contact the airline or speak to a representative at the airport.
Cebu Pacific improves flexibility options for passengers
Philippine carrier Cebu Pacific has made improvements in its policies to give passengers even more flexible booking options and peace of mind amidst travel concerns.
The airline has extended the validity of its ‘Travel Fund’ to two years. This can be used to book flights up to 12 months ahead, for as long as the transaction is made before expiration.
The Travel Fund, or a virtual wallet with Cebu Pacific equivalent to the full cost of the ticket, is an option that passengers can take if the flight was cancelled or if they wish to forego travel plans.
Previously, the Travel Fund was valid for one year, during which time, a passenger must use it to book a flight or pay for ancillary services such as baggage allowance.
For customers with existing Travel Funds, the two-year validity will be applied retroactively, or from the date the fund was created.
Additionally, Cebu Pacific passengers now have access to unlimited rebooking of their flights without paying any rebooking or change fees. Those who wish to forego travel plans or book new flights can rebook their flights as many times as possible.
This option is available for travel until 30 November 2020, and a minimal fare difference may apply depending on the travel date selected.
NEC and SITA partner up
NEC Corporation and SITA have announced a global partnership to develop solutions that enable a secure walk-through travel experience at airports.
The partnership will leverage NEC’s I:Delight identity management platform together with SITA Smart Path and SITA Flex.
It comes as airports and airlines increasingly look to low-touch and automated passenger processing in order to comply with new hygiene requirements following the global COVID-19 pandemic, in line with recommendations from Airports Council International and the International Air Transport Association.
Etihad adopts new COVID-safe protocols
Effective from 1 August, all travellers flying Etihad Airways from around the world to Abu Dhabi, and those transferring via Abu Dhabi onto other flights, will be required to show a negative COVID-19 PCR test result from a list of approved testing facilities alongside their ICA approval if Abu Dhabi is their end destination.
The PCR test must be carried out within 96 hours prior to arrival in Abu Dhabi and a negative COVID-19 PCR test result certificate from one of the approved clinics listed must be shown for approval to board.
Children under the age of 12 and people with mild to severe disabilities are currently exempt from this PCR test requirement.
Delta to improve its hygiene practices with new partnership
Delta Air Lines has teamed up with Reckitt Benckiser, the maker of Lysol, to drive greater confidence in travel by innovating cleaner more hygienic experiences for customers and employees alike.
The partnership will see Lysol’s 130 years of germ-kill expertise and innovation to help improve Delta’s CareStandard protocols launched during the COVID-19 pandemic across its airport locations and on board its aircraft.
Emirates to resume flights to Stockholm
Emirates will resume passenger services to Stockholm with weekly flights from 1 August, expanding its network in Europe to 22 cities, and connecting customers from Europe to the Middle East, the Asia Pacific and Africa.
The restart of Stockholm flights means that all Emirates gateways in Scandinavia will have resumed services by August, with flights to Oslo resuming from 4 August and services to Copenhagen being in operation since June.
Featured image source: iStock/Rusell Hendry