Aviation

Aviation Wrap: Qantas’ New Cal and Philippines slots renewed, Air Vanuatu CEO departs + MORE

Looking for the latest and greatest in aviation news? Have a squiz at today’s loaded Aviation Wrap.

Qantas’ New Caledonia, Philippines slots renewed

The International Air Services Commission (IASC) has advised that Qantas has received renewal of its Australia-New Caledonia slots, and Australia-Philippines slots.

Late last week, the commission issued its determination, allocating 788 seats per week in each direction of passenger capacity for Qantas’ New Caledonia route.

Moreover, the commission likewise issued its determination for Qantas’ Philippines route, allocating 1,927 seats per week in each direction of passenger capacity.

Both slots are valid for five years from 9 May 2021.

Air Vanuatu CEO Derek Nice to depart

Air Vanuatu has revealed its current chief executive, Derek Nice, will not renew his contract when it expires on 25 June.

In a company statement, Nice said his decision to depart would allow “the new board of directors the freedom to implement the new directives mandated by the shareholders in the Vanuatu government to make the changes they believe are needed to ensure our recovery”.

Nice’s departure marks the return of former CEO Joseph Laloyer, who will take over as acting CEO while the board finalises the recruitment of a new chief executive officer.

Laloyer previously worked with the airline for more than 30 years, last serving as CEO in 2018.

Meanwhile, the national carrier has also commenced a third weekly Boeing 737 service between Port-Vila and Santo.

Air New Zealand provides FY20 earnings guidance

Air New Zealand has provided the New Zealand Exchange with an update on its earnings expectations for the 2020 financial year.

As the company nears the end of its financial year on 30 June 2020, it is expecting to report an underlying loss before other significant items and taxation of up to $120 million for the 2020 financial year.

Air New Zealand said this underlying earnings guidance excludes the impact of fluctuations in foreign currency rates for the month of June, as well as any fuel price changes for the remainder of the period, which are not expected to be material given the reduced level of flying.

In addition to the $120 million underlying loss, a number of other significant items will impact the 2020 financial results, which can be viewed here.

Sydney Airport passenger traffic down 97 per cent in May

Sydney Airport has revealed to the Australian Securities Exchange that passenger traffic in May 2020 was 92,000 passengers – down 97.4 per cent on the prior corresponding period.

Moreover, 29,000 international passengers passed through Sydney Airport in May, down 97.7 per cent on the prior corresponding period. Domestic passengers totalled 62,000 for the month – down 97.2 per cent on the prior corresponding period.

Sydney Airport advised it expects the downturn in passenger traffic to persist until government travel restrictions are eased, with the federal Minister for Tourism last week warning it was “likely” that Australia’s international borders will remain closed into 2021.

Federal government unveils ‘Domestic Passenger Journey Protocol’

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications has provided details of a new set of protocols developed by and for the Australian aviation industry.

Targeting COVID-safe domestic flying, the Domestic Passenger Journey Protocol has been developed to provide “clear and consistent guidance regarding risk-minimisation principles and processes in domestic airports and on aircraft for domestic passenger travel”.

You can check what to expect in full here.

Avalon Airport upgrades domestic terminal security systems

Domestic travellers can move swiftly and safely in and out of Avalon Airport with minimal contact with other passengers, thanks to new security upgrades at the Victorian airport and the installation of state-of-the-art touchless technology.

The airport, which is 50 minutes from Melbourne CBD, claims to be one of the first in Australia to transition its security systems to 100 per cent Computed Tomography technology, with the installation of a new Rapiscan CT scanner, body scanner and checked baggage screening (CBS) machine for greater efficiency within the airport’s domestic terminal.

In just moments, the new zero-contact millimetre-wave security body scanners automatically detect potentially dangerous items carried on the body or in clothing, while the CBS machine and the CT scanner create three-dimensional images of a passenger’s baggage, providing security personnel with a clearer view of the contents.

For passengers, the relief will be in finally being able to leave their laptops in their bags.

Emirates lands first passenger flight in Perth since March

Emirates/James Salter

On 17 June, Emirates landed at Perth Airport, providing the airline’s the first passenger service into the city since the UAE federal government’s restrictions on passenger services in March.

Emirates flight EK420 departed Dubai at 3am, arriving in Perth at 5:50pm (local time). From 18 June, the outbound service EK421 will depart Perth at 10:20pm, arriving in Dubai at 5:20am the following day.

Travel restrictions remain in place in most countries and customers are reminded to check entry and exit requirements before their journeys.

In addition, Emirates has implemented a set of measures to ensure the safety of its customers and employees on the ground and in the air, including the distribution of complimentary hygiene kits containing masks, gloves, hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes.

Emirates has also had services flying into both Sydney and Melbourne since 21 May.

Fiji Airways announces it’s ‘Travel Ready’ as Fiji eyes Pacific travel bubble

Fiji Airways, Fiji’s national airline, has today outlined its plan to return to flying once border restrictions ease and the demand for travel returns.

The ‘Travel Ready’ program details the airline’s commitment to safeguarding the health and safety of its customers and staff.

This includes the creation of a new onboard role of medically qualified ‘Customer Wellness Champions’, which will manage and maintain wellbeing, customer medical safety and promote wellness through service interactions to passengers and crew onboard and on the ground for every flight on the Fiji Airways international network.

For more information, click here.

Etihad Airways to recommence flights to Athens

On Wednesday, Etihad Airways will recommence flights from Abu Dhabi to Athens, following the news that Greece has reopened to tourists.

The twice-weekly schedule will be operated on Wednesdays and Saturdays using a two-class Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, and will connect guests travelling to and from Athens with key destinations in Asia and Australia through Abu Dhabi.

Destinations connecting to Athens include Melbourne, Sydney, Singapore, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Seoul, Karachi and Lahore.

The addition of Athens increases the total number of international flights being flown by Etihad throughout June to 25 destinations, with plans to significantly increase the number of scheduled flights around the world, as international travel restrictions are lifted.

In other news, Etihad has revealed it has partnered with Austrian-based healthcare technology company Medicus AI to launch a COVID-19 risk assessment tool that aims to empower guests to make informed decisions about travelling.

Powered by Medicus AI’s technology, the risk-assessment tool will guide Etihad’s guests in evaluating the probability of having contracted COVID-19 by responding to a set of 22 questions.

The self-administered assessment, which takes less than five minutes to complete, is based on World Health Organisation guidelines that are updated daily.

Singapore Airlines approved to operate two-way transit lanes between select countries

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has confirmed a limited number of two-way transit channels will begin operation from Tuesday, allowing SIA and SilkAir customers to book return journeys between approved destinations.

A total of 14 cities across six countries and territories are on the approved list, including the previously announced Australian cities of Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, as well as New Zealand cities, Auckland and Christchurch.

Meanwhile, SIA added Wellcamp Airport in Toowoomba to its list of COVID-era cargo destinations as part of the federal government’s International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) program.

On 19 June, SIA operated the first, once weekly cargo-only passenger flight to the regional Queensland airport.

There will be a total of six once-weekly flights, which will provide local producers with more than 180 tonnes of cargo capacity to send their fresh produce to markets across the globe.

In addition to the six, once-weekly services to Wellcamp Airport, the IFAM program is also supporting twice-weekly services to Perth using SIA’s Boeing 787-10.

The IFAM-supported flights, which began on 26 May, will run through until 15 August carrying chilled pork to the Singapore market. The IFAM program will also continue to support a six-week extension to the once-weekly A350-900 medium-haul flight to Adelaide.

SIA’s IFAM-supported Adelaide-Singapore cargo-only passenger flights have carried more than 170 tonnes of meat, tuna, seafood, dairy products, wine, pharmaceuticals, fresh fruit and manufacturing equipment not only to Singapore, but also to destinations in Europe, North Asia, South East Asia, South Africa and the United States.

Qatar Airways expands flights to United States

Qatar Airways has resumed flights to New York, with services to Boston, Los Angeles and Washington from 1 July, with the national carrier’s air network set to rebuild to 39 weekly flights by mid-July 2020.

Existing services to Dallas-Forth Worth and Chicago currently enable passengers to book onward travel with American Airlines to almost 180 destinations on more than 350 domestic flights per day.

This will increase to more than 600 daily flights with the addition of services to Boston, New York, Los Angeles and Washington.

Qatar Airways’ New York flights and five-weekly Boston flights will also facilitate the resumption of the airline’s JetBlue codeshare. Passengers will immediately be able to book travel across the entire JetBlue network on 70 flights per day to 46 destinations.

Cathay Pacific releases cargo figures

April to May 2020 saw Cathay Pacific transport more than 417 tonnes of cargo from Auckland on cargo-only pax flights or repatriation flights, showing its support for the New Zealand economy.

Freight was shipped around the world including to the UK, Europe, North America and Asia.

During these months, the airline saw an increase in demand for Mānuka honey, with over 25 tonnes transported and JFK receiving 10 tonnes of the total amount. It is expected the demand is due to the many health benefits of Mānuka honey.

While as much as 135 tonnes of medical supplies were also shipped from the country.

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