This week’s Aviation Wrap has got us flying high with a spate of good news stories detailing what the industry is doing to help out during the global pandemic.
Cathay Pacific Freighters arrive in Australia with medical supplies
Starting from Saturday, 4 April 2020, five Cathay Pacific passenger aircraft operating as Cargo only aircraft touched down in Brisbane, delivering essential personal protective equipment for doctors, nurses, staff and volunteers on the frontline fighting COVID-19 in Australia.
The 777-300 aircrafts departing Hong Kong collectively carrying more than 700 cubic metres of medical supplies. It’s expected the much-needed supplies will be distributed nationally over the coming days.
This is not goodbye: Emirates ground crews around the world give an emotional send-off to last flights
Emirates ground crews from around the world, including those in Australia, bid farewell to their last operating flights back to Dubai last week.
The last flight out of Australia, EK 415 from Sydney to Dubai, departed on the 25 March at 6am.
Over the next weeks, Emirates’ operational teams will focus on preparing for service resumption. As per UAE government directives to protect communities against the spread of COVID-19, Emirates has temporarily suspended all passenger flights from 25 March 2020.
The airline has received approval to carry passengers on certain flights. Effective Monday 6 April, initial flights will commence from Dubai to London Heathrow, Frankfurt, Paris, Brussels and Zurich, with 4 flights a week to London Heathrow, and 3 flights a week to the other cities.
REX to continue flying in QLD
Following a last-minute intervention from the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR), Regional Express (Rex) has agreed to reverse its decision to suspend services from 1 April 2020.
Rex will resume full services on Wednesday 1 April 2020 and will introduce a reduced schedule from 2 April 2020 on all five (5) TMR regulated routes. A final agreement has not yet been reached with TMR on the reduced schedule, however Rex will run the reduced schedule in good faith until 8 April 2020, after which the total suspension of all Rex’s services in Queensland may still proceed.
LATAM repatriates more than 16,000 people on special flights
LATAM Airlines Group and its affiliates have operated 115 special flights to date, enabling 16,385 people to return home as part of the group’s repatriation program.
Since 19 March 2020, with government support, the program has facilitated the repatriation of passengers who have not been able to complete their journeys due to border closures and other travel restrictions in response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.
Over the coming days, LATAM has at least another ten repatriation flights planned, enabling passengers to return to Latin America from around the world, including: Sydney-Santiago, Miami-Lima, Guayaquil-Santiago, Johannesburg-São Paulo/Guarulhos, and Frankfurt-Santiago.
Fly home with Malaysia Airlines
Malaysia Airlines is reinstating some of its international flights between April and May 2020 to bring home families who have not been able to return to their loved ones due to travel restrictions in many parts of the world.
Donate your Etihad guest miles to support vulnerable refugees during the COVID-19 pandemic
Etihad Guest has launched a campaign to encourage members to donate their Etihad Guest Miles to support the prevention and response efforts in view of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in refugee settings.
An initiative in collaboration with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) globally and with Emirates Red Crescent in the Middle East, Etihad Guest aims to support basic infection control and adequate containment measures for refugees and other forcibly displaced people.
Donated miles will be used to purchase essential healthcare equipment including ventilators, gloves, masks and soap. Members who have donated will receive information detailing the monetary value of how their miles have helped those impacted or at risk by the pandemic.
The airline has also teamed up with Australian company Elenium Automation to trial new technology which allows self-service devices at airports to be used to help identify travellers with medical conditions, potentially including the early stages of COVID-19.
Etihad will be the first airline to trial the technology, which can monitor the temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate of any person using an airport touchpoint such as a check-in or information kiosk, a bag drop facility, a security point or immigration gate.
The Elenium system will automatically suspend the self-service check-in or bag drop process if a passenger’s vital signs indicate potential symptoms of illness. It will then divert to a teleconference or alert qualified staff on site, who can make further assessments and manage travellers as appropriate.
Qatar Airways resumes scheduled belly-hold cargo operations to China
Qatar Airways Cargo will resume scheduled belly-hold cargo operations to China with the utilisation of wide-body and passenger-configurated aircraft effective 30 March 2020. The additional cargo capacity is being added to the carrier’s existing freighter service amid increased demand for the shipment of immediate goods in and out of the region.
The decision to reinstate belly-hold service to six of its passenger destinations in the country is in line with airline’s initiative to continue supporting worldwide connectivity, re-establishing the global supply chain, and meeting the market’s strong demand for freight exports and imports. This includes the transportation of urgent medical relief aid that is pivotal to the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Delta office socially distances
Last week, Delta set out on a plan to socially distance the Atlanta head office workforce. The Reservations team, along with Corporate Real Estate and IT, decided to convert the Delta Flight Museum into a supplementary Reservations Engagement Center. This has allowed 300+ of those in Atlanta to relocate to the Museum and spread out.
Four days later the “new” center is nearly ready for action. An incredible effort across the company to pull this together so quickly, ensure employee safety, and spread positives vibes working under the wing of Delta… This plane was Delta’s very first Boeing 767, joining the fleet in 1982 and christened the “The Spirit of Delta”. It retired in 2006.
Air Tahiti Nui schedule changes
In light of international travel and safety measures, some of which include compulsory repatriation of all non-residents to their home country, entrance only for residents, quarantines and restriction on domestic and international flights, Air Tahiti Nui has suspended flights from 28 March, through 30 April 2020.
Normal flight operations expected to resume from May 1st.
The schedule from May 1st onwards is subject to change and all passengers must reconfirm their reservation at least 72 hours prior to departure, if not earlier.