Aviation Wrap: Jetstar’s back in NZ, Etihad to connect Australia with expanded network + MORE

Sydney, Australia - January 17, 2019: Front section of Jetstar Airbus A320 fuselage while taxiing at Sydney airport runway.

There’s good news aplenty in this week’s Aviation Wrap, best enjoyed while listening to Ozzy Osbourne’s “Flying High Again”.

Jetstar resumes flights in New Zealand as restrictions ease

Jetstar has announced it will resume domestic flying across New Zealand on 1 July, with fares available from $21.

The resumption of services will see Jetstar flying 75 return flights per week to five destinations, returning to approximately 60 per cent of its normal domestic schedule. Customers with bookings on the remaining 40 per cent of flights have been contacted and offered a range of options.

Jetstar will closely monitor demand, with further domestic flights likely be added to the schedule in coming months.

It comes after New Zealand entered Alert Level 1, effectively removing all COVID-19-related restrictions, thanks to the country’s success in seemingly eradicating the coronavirus.

Etihad Airways to connect Australia with key cities on global network

Effective 10 June, Etihad Airways will link 20 cities in Europe, Asia and Australia through Abu Dhabi.

The new transfer services will make it possible for those travelling on the airline’s current network of special flights to connect easily through the UAE capital onwards to key global destinations.

Etihad recently launched links from Melbourne and Sydney to London Heathrow, allowing direct transfer connections to and from the UK capital through Abu Dhabi.

Throughout June, Etihad is continuing to operate a network of special flights from Abu Dhabi to previously announced destinations across its international network.

Easy transfer connections through Abu Dhabi will now be available from Jakarta, Karachi, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Melbourne, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney, and Tokyo to major cities across Europe.

These include Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, Geneva, London Heathrow, Madrid, Milan, Paris Charles de Gaulle, and Zurich.

Alliance Airlines flying into The Whitsunday Coast for $99

Alliance Airlines will be operating four direct flights weekly from Brisbane to Whitsunday Coast Airport, with sale fares starting from $99 per person one way. Tickets are on sale now through www.allianceairlines.com.au.

The first flight is scheduled to touch down on the Whitsunday Coast Airport runway on 22 June, perfectly coinciding with the June and July school holidays.

Emirates offers flights for passengers to 29 destinations including four Australian cities

Following the UAE federal government’s announcement to lift restrictions on transit passengers services, from 15 June, Emirates will offer passenger services to 16 more cities, extending its Australian services to Brisbane and Perth, in addition to reinstated services to Sydney and Melbourne.

With travel restrictions remaining in place in most countries, customers are reminded to check entry and exit requirements before their journeys.

Flights to the following cities will also be available for booking on emirates.com or via travel agents: Bahrain, Manchester, Zurich, Vienna, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Dublin, New York JFK, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Jakarta, Taipei and Hong Kong.

With this latest announcement, Emirates will be offering flights for passengers on the back of its scheduled cargo operations from Dubai to 29 cities, including existing flights to London Heathrow, Sydney, Melbourne, Frankfurt, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Chicago, Toronto and Manila (from 11th June).

Delta will block middle-seat selection, cap cabin seating through 30 September

Delta is extending its commitment to make more space for safer travel by continuing to block the selection of middle seats and capping seating in every cabin through 30 September 2020.

Through Sept. 30, Delta will ensure more space for customers on all aircraft by capping seating at 50 per cent in first class; 60 per cent in main cabin, Delta Comfort+, and Delta Premium Select; and 75 per cent in Delta One to reduce the total number of customers on board.

On routes where increasing customer demand is driving flight loads closer to Delta’s caps, the airline will look for opportunities to upsize to a larger aircraft type or add more flying.

Cathay Pacific announces HK$39bn in recapitalisation financing

On Tuesday, Cathay Pacific announced a recapitalisation plan that will help it maintain its competitiveness and operations, while continuing its commitments to Hong Kong as an international aviation, financial and commercial hub.

The three-part plan is designed to provide Cathay Pacific with sufficient funds to withstand the industry-wide downturn, and a stable financial platform from which it will be able to conduct the wholesale review of operations required to transform its business to reflect the new global travel market dynamics.

The recapitalisation plan comprises three tranches:

  1. Cathay Pacific will issue HK$19.5 billion in preference shares with detachable warrants to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government after requisite shareholders’ approval has been obtained
  2. Cathay Pacific will launch a HK$11.7 billion rights issue of shares to existing shareholders after requisite shareholders’ approval has been obtained
  3. The HKSAR government will provide a HK$7.8 billion bridge loan facility to Cathay Pacific, available for drawdown immediately.

Trump administration bans flights by Chinese airlines

In a move likely to further inflame tensions between the United States and China, the Trump administration on Wednesday (local time) said it would ban all commercial passenger flights by Chinese carriers beginning later this month, as reported by the Australian Financial Review.

The change, announced by the Department of Transportation and beginning 16 June, is in response to China’s refusal to allow US carriers to resume service to China.

The rule would impact operations of seven carriers, including Air China and China Eastern Airlines.

More flights to international destinations will take off from Munich Airport again in June

Lufthansa has begun flying regularly from Munich to Brussels, Milan, Rome, Vienna, and Zurich.

Two attractive cities in the US will also be on the list of nonstop destinations with Lufthansa starting this coming week.

On 2 June, the airline reopened its route from Munich to Chicago, with the first flight to Los Angeles taking place a day later.

Initially, service to both US destinations is to be provided three days a week. Lufthansa is also expected to conduct three weekly flights on its route from Munich to Tel Aviv once more as of June 3.

Qatar Airways, which has maintained its operations in Munich over the past several weeks, will continue flying to Doha four times per week.

Greece’s AEGEAN Airlines has re-established its connection from Munich to Athens and is offering three weekly flights there to start with.

Effective immediately, Luxair is again providing service from Munich to Luxembourg five times a week, and airBaltic has reactivated its service to Riga with four flights per week.

The schedule of existing connections operated by Alitalia to Rome, KLM to Amsterdam, Air France to Paris, Finnair to Helsinki, and Belavia to Minsk will be partially expanded to provide greater frequency.

Singapore Airlines secures S$10 billion in fresh liquidity

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has raised S$10 billion of liquidity through its recent rights issue, as well as a mix of secured and unsecured credit facilities.

This puts SIA on a steady footing as it tackles the challenges posed by the global COVID-19 outbreak, the airline said.

It comes after SIA secured S$8.8 billion in liquidity through the successful completion of the rights issue on 5 June 2020.

A further S$900 million was raised through long term loans secured on some of SIA’s Airbus A350-900 and Boeing 787-10 aircraft.

In addition, the Company has also arranged new committed lines of credit and a short-term unsecured loan with several banks, which provide further fresh liquidity amounting to more than S$500 million.

In other news, the airline has introduced a range of health and safety initiatives, and enhanced several existing measures, in recent weeks as part of a comprehensive review of the end-to-end customer journey.

This has allowed SIA to refine the travel experience based on the advice of medical experts, regulators and partners, as well as feedback from its customers. These initiatives help to ensure a safe and healthy environment for customers, allowing them to travel in confidence with the Airline.

Information on the health and safety measures during the pre-flight stage, at the airport, on board the aircraft, and upon arrival is available in a new online e-brochure. This will also be sent to all customers before their flights.

Furthermore, subsidiary airline Scoot has announced that with the resumption of more flights and re-commencement of transit operations at Singapore Changi Airport from June 2020, the airline will be further enhancing its operational procedures and introducing additional precautionary measures.

It comes in addition to previously announced measures mandated airline carriers within the SIA Group, to allow customers to travel with even greater confidence and flexibility.


Haneda Airport to implement autonomous mobility service for social distancing

Haneda International Airport has announced it plans to utilise electronic vehicle company WHILL’s autonomous wheel chairs to optimise current passengers with reduced mobility operations while helping to prevent the spread of infection.

According to WHILL, this is a first-of-its-kind solution being applied with the intention of addressing the COVID-19 situation impacting the world.

WHILL has conducted multiple trials of its autonomous drive system since 2019 to work towards establishing a seamless transportation experience for passengers at airports, taking them through to their departure gates.

The WHILL autonomous drive system with self-driving technology was developed by the electronic vehicle company to support those who have difficulty walking long-distances and individuals with limited mobility.

SAA issues draft business rescue plan, receives consent to extend

The South African Airways (SAA) Business Rescue Practitioners (BRPs), Siviwe Dongwana and Les Matuson, have issued a draft business rescue plan to affected persons for comment and consultation.

They have also received an extension as requested, for its final publication to 8 June 2020.

The BRPs noted: “The draft plan was sent to the creditors’ and employees’ committees as well as the DPE. The draft has however been leaked to the media.

“As was noted in the draft business rescue plan, ‘It is for discussion purposes and may not be circulated to any other party’.

“Given that it is a draft and has not received agreement or comment from any of the relevant affected persons we will not comment on the leaked draft to the media and will await input from the affected parties as is prescribed by the Companies Act.

“To assume and comment on this draft as if it is the final version would be very irresponsible.”

SITA announces new leadership appointments overseeing key product portfolios

Global aviation IT provider SITA has made several changes to its executive management team responsible for product portfolios.

David Lavorel, previously CEO of SITA for Aircraft, has been appointed to head up SITA’s airport and border solution portfolio.

He replaces Matthys Serfontein, who will be retiring from SITA after 13 years.

Sébastien Fabre, previously vice president of SITA’s airline and airports portfolio, will replace Lavorel to head SITA for Aircraft.

Sébastien Fabre

The appointments come at a crucial juncture as the air transport industry begins the difficult task of restarting operations after a lengthy shutdown due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Airly announces resumption of popular getaway flights

Airly has announced plans to resume offering members seats on private flights to Byron Bay and Mount Hotham just in time for the July school holidays.

Airly members can opt into an existing flight or initiate a new one on a luxury private jet through the Airly app. The innovative on-demand service, which requires arrival only 15 minutes prior to departure, makes flying private convenient and affordable.

Sydney to Byron Bay is $1,295 a seat, while from Melbourne its $2,395 a seat, and Melbourne to Mount Hotham is $995 a seat, saving the five-hour drive. Sydney to Mt Hotham is $1,395 a seat.

Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters to reopen this Thursday

Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters is returning to the sky, accepting reservations for flights over the Las Vegas Strip and to the Grand Canyon – all with enhanced health and safety protocols, including temperature checks, social distancing, face coverings, and more.

The world’s leading helicopter company is now accepting reservations and will resume flights starting this Thursday.

For those guests who elect to drive to Grand Canyon West, Papillon is offering a free Skywalk ticket with the purchase of any helicopter tour.

This combination provides a unique opportunity to see the Grand Canyon from different angles, from landing on the Canyon floor to experiencing the world-famous Grand Canyon Skywalk, a 10-foot wide, horseshoe-shaped glass bridge extending 70 feet over the rim.

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