Aviation Wrap: Cathay Pacific’s special visitor, Sydney Airport runway becomes parking lot + MORE

Get your weekly fix of industry gossip from the aviation industry. And by gossip, we mean company-approved press releases, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less juicy!

Government approval for aircraft parking on east-west runway at Sydney Airport

The Federal Government has granted Sydney Airport approval to temporarily use its east-west runway to accommodate aircraft grounded as a consequence of efforts to manage the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said today’s announcement builds on more than $1 billion of support already committed to the aviation industry.

Vale David Bell, long-term PR for Cathay Pacific

An excerpt from an obituary written by Peter Davidson.

 Just a month short of 80, David’s extraordinary career was celebrated by his immediate family and a virtual horde of aviation journalists and travel trade luminaries yesterday.

The long time Cathay Pacific PR chief started in Australian television’s emerging years in Melbourne and Adelaide working the studio floor, and later in programming for Rupert Murdoch’s foray into in TV in Wollongong.

David is survived by Siew, sons Richard and Nicolas and daughter Caroline, whose son Jack, now 16 months old is one of the best known toddlers around the Lower North Shore’s restaurants and pubs: his grandfather taking personal care of his PR among any chums standing still long enough to see a photo or hear the latest story.

Sydney Airport liquidity, half-year distribution, and traffic update


• Sydney Airport secures $850m of additional bank debt facilities, further strengthening its balance sheet

• Sydney Airport advises no half-year distribution will be paid

• Strict operating expenditure reduction measures implemented, including reducing directors’ fees and CEO fixed remuneration by 20 per cent

• March traffic performance significantly impacted by progressive tightening of travel restrictions

Go here for more.

Etihad operations update 

Subject to UAE government-imposed travel restrictions being lifted on passenger travel, Etihad plans to operate a reduced network of scheduled passenger services from 1 May to 30 June, with the aim of gradually returning to a fuller schedule as and when the global situation improves. 

Etihad is also continuing to operate a growing schedule of special passenger flights allowing foreign nationals in the UAE the opportunity to travel out of the country, and to carry essential belly-hold cargo such as perishables, pharmaceuticals, and medical supplies. To date, the airline has also repatriated almost 600 UAE nationals on return services.

Emirates updates COVID-19 waiver policies

Emirates has updated its COVID-19 travel waiver policies into one simplified approach for rebooking and refunds on tickets issued in all its global markets.

Emirates is offering three options to its customers affected by flight cancellations and travel restrictions: 

1 – Keep your ticket: all Emirates tickets booked before 31 May for travel up to 31 August will be automatically extended for 760 days. Customers holding such tickets can be assured their tickets will be honoured, and they can rebook when they decide to travel.

2 – Request a travel voucher: Travel vouchers are valid for one year from date the voucher was issued, and can be extended for a second year. The voucher can be used for any Emirates product or service, which means customers can use it to offset charges for flights to any destination in any cabin class, or other services. No change fees apply to this voucher, so customers will have more flexibility to reschedule when they are ready to travel again.

3 – Refunds: Customers who have opted to keep their ticket or opted for a travel voucher can still apply for a refund, if they are unable to travel. There will be no refund penalties.

Hahn Air appoints leaders for its new commercial and operation divisions

Hahn Air is regrouping its departments supporting partner airlines, travel agencies and the global distribution systems (GDS) into the new commercial and operation divisions.

The new divisions also include communications and marketing as well as IT support. The set-up allows the company to further increase business results for its more than 350 partner airlines and over 100,000 travel agency partners while taking advantage of synergies for internal and external support.

The newly formed commercial division will be headed by Alexander Proschka who has been promoted to Executive Vice President Commercial. His division comprises of the following departments: airline business, communications and marketing, sales analytics and travel agency distribution. 

Another long-standing Hahn Air executive, Frederick Nowotny, has been promoted to Head of Operation to lead the new operation division. Nowotny joined Hahn Air in 2008 and previously headed up the sales engineering department. His division now includes the teams in charge of all airline and product implementation processes, GDS interfaces and inventory displays. 

Scoot updates refund policy

Scoot is now one of the few airlines in the world to offer their customers the option of refunding their flights in cash or other modes of payment. 

For all customers with bookings made on or before 15 March 2020 travelling on flights scheduled to depart between 23 January and 31 May 2020 but which were cancelled, Scoot now offer two enhanced options to claim a refund:

a. A 100 per cent refund via the original method of payment, or

b. A 120 per cent refund in Scoot vouchers, valid for use within 12 months to make a booking for any travel period available on their website at the time of booking

Scoot previously offered these customers a 100 per cent refund via Scoot travel vouchers. Customers who had earlier opted for the refund can also access the new refund options. Like before, customers will be able to self-serve to access these options at their convenience.

A special visit from Cathay Pacific Pilot Bear

Cathay Pacific staff at Sydney Airport had a special visitor touch down to become part of the popular teddy bear hunt trend.

The Pilot Bear has long been a mascot for the Hong Kong-based airline and decided to make himself comfortable by taking a tour of a Cathay Pacific A350-900. 

After spending some time in his Business Class seat, the Pilot Bear decided to join pilots Captain David Newbery and First Officer Herman Ghekiere in the cockpit. Judging by the goggles and jacket he looks right at home.

Finnair update

Finnair has announced it plans to operate only the routes listed below, with a limited number of weekly frequencies and possibly changed schedules, provided that there are no travel restrictions set by the authorities.

If your destination is missing from the list, your flight will be cancelled.

Domestic Finland 



Amsterdam – reduced from 7 to 5 weekly until end of MAY20
Berlin – 
reduced from 7 to 6 weekly until 13MAY20
Brussels – 
reduced from 5 to 3 weekly until 13MAY20
Munich – 
reduced from 4 to 2 weekly until end of MAY20
Paris – 
reduced from 14 to 7 weekly until end of MAY20
Zürich – 
reduced from 7 to 3 weekly until end of MAY20

It will also fly to Copenhagen, Moscow, Oslo, Riga, St Petersburg and Tallinn once the travel restrictions to these destinations are lifted.

Tallinn – change of flight times for AY1031/2 from 01MAY20 to end of JUN20

The full list of flight operating from 17APR20 to 30JUN20 can be found by clicking HERE.


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