Aviation Wrap: Qantas to farewell final 747 jet with ‘joy flights’, Airbus to slash 15,000 jobs + MORE

Wondering if there is any aviation news you may have missed? This week’s wrap will get you up to speed in no time.

Qantas to farewell final Boeing 747 jumbo jet

Qantas has announced a program of events to farewell its last remaining Boeing 747 and provide Australians the opportunity to say goodbye to the “Queen of the Skies” ahead of its retirement from the national carrier’s fleet.

The flights will go on sale at midday on Wednesday 8 July and will operate on Monday 13 July (Sydney), Wednesday 15 July (Brisbane) and Friday 17 July (Canberra).

Economy fares cost $400 and a small number of business-class tickets will be available for $747, with additional extras included.

Seats will be limited to maximise passenger comfort (in line with other previously operated ‘joy flights’).

Airbus to slash 15,000 jobs by 2021

Airbus is expecting that it will reduce its international workforce by around 15,000 positions no later than summer 2021, as it resizes commercial aircraft activity in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Airbus said commercial aircraft business activity has dropped by close to 40 per cent in recent months as the industry faces an unprecedented crisis.

“With air traffic not expected to recover to pre-COVID levels before 2023 and potentially as late as 2025, Airbus now needs to take additional measures to reflect the post-COVID-19 industry outlook,” the aircraft manufacturer said.

Following an analysis of customer demand, which has taken place over recent months, Airbus anticipates the need to adapt its global workforce due to COVID-19 by approximately 5,000 positions in France, by 5,100 positions in Germany, by 900 positions in Spain, by 1,700 positions in the UK, and by 1,300 positions at its other worldwide sites.

American Airlines resets international network

American Airlines will adjust its long-haul international schedule for winter 2020 through summer 2021.

In an effort to match low demand resulting from the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the airline will realign its network with the goal of improving long-term profitability.

American expects its summer 2021 long-haul international capacity to be down 25 per cent compared to 2019. The airline will focus on markets that create “unique connectivity” for customers, and will leverage partnerships “as the foundation of future international growth”.

American is also expanding waived change fees for customers booking tickets for any new travel purchased by 31 July 2020. Any first, business, premium economy, and main cabin tickets purchased on or before 31 July 2020 for future travel will not incur change fees prior to travel.

Customers are allowed to change their origin and destination cities as part of this offer.

Emirates creates bespoke ‘Dubai is Open’ jerseys for latest sponsorship partner

Lyon is set to share Dubai’s good news with the club’s new jersey (supplied)

Olympique Lyonnais (Lyon), Emirates’ most recent sponsorship partner, will play its first match under Emirates sponsorship in specially designed jerseys that say: ‘Dubai is open’.

The bespoke jerseys were created to help raise awareness that Dubai has reopened for tourism, and comes off the back of the Dubai government’s recent announcement that welcomes business and leisure visitors to the city from 7 July.

In other news, Emirates SkyCargo will operate scheduled cargo flights to 100 destinations across six continents during July 2020.

Some of the new cities added to the air cargo carrier’s network include Accra, Algiers, Athens, Fort Lauderdale, Glasgow, Larnaca, Los Angeles, Male, Moscow (SVO), Phnom Penh, Rome, Santiago, Sialkot and Tunis.

Meanwhile, from 1 July, Emirates’ premium customers can once again enjoy the airline’s Chauffeur Drive service (CDS) and airport lounge at its Dubai hub with the restart of these services following a full health and safety review.

Emirates has implemented a set of measures to ensure the safety of its customers and employees, the airline said.

To start, Emirates will open one lounge in Terminal 3 Concourse B, Dubai International Airport (DXB) to serve First Class, Business Class and eligible Emirates Skywards members from 10am (local time) on 1 July.

Lounge guests will enter through biometric gates using facial recognition to reduce contact. More Emirates lounges in Dubai and around the world are planned to be opened in the coming months.

Singapore Airlines launches AppChallenge 2020

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has launched its AppChallenge for 2020, the sixth time the successful program has been run.

The AppChallenge is an opportunity for start-ups at the forefront of innovation to work with the world’s leading airline and be part of the driving force in changing the way we travel.

This year, Singapore Airlines is in search of start-ups with the most innovative solutions to ten ‘Problem Statements’ across six ‘Challenge Themes’, including “Travelling in the New Norm”, “Sustainability” and “Seamless Travel Experience”.

Applications are open until 12 July 2020, after which finalists will be invited to pitch to Singapore Airlines senior management and top executives.

Solutions with business potential will be fast-tracked into the SIA Accelerator Programme, where start-ups will build a Proof-of-Concept of their solution with the Airline.

Meanwhile, SIA has also extended eligible customers’ KrisFlyer miles by at least six months. For more information, click here.

Delta engages Mayo Clinic experts to advise on making travel safer

Delta Airlines Boeing 777 taxis at El Prat Airport in Barcelona (iStock.com/Santiago Rodriguez Fonto)

Delta Air Lines and Mayo Clinic, a global leader in serious and complex medical care, are deepening their relationship to provide additional safety and COVID-19 infection control measures for customers and employees.

Delta said the collaboration is another significant step in the airline’s efforts to build upon its foundation of “care and cleanliness”, known as the Delta CareStandard, to mitigate the risk of transmitting COVID-19 during travel.

The news comes as the airline reintroduces select beer and wine on domestic flights with “added safety measures”.

Beginning 2 July, domestic first-class and Delta Comfort+ customers will begin to see complimentary beer and wine on all flights greater than 500 miles as Delta begins reintroducing adult beverage offerings after recent service adjustments made in March.

Travellers can get tested for coronavirus at Munich Airport

At Munich Airport, passengers now have the opportunity to get tested for a possible infection with the coronavirus.

The tests, which must be paid for, are provided by MediCare, a subsidiary of Flughafen München GmbH, at the airport’s medical centre (Terminal 1, area E).

Anyone interested in taking a test must call the airport’s emergency room in order to register. The test results will be available four hours after the swabs have been taken.

Solomon Airlines marks Independence Day with initiatives to support tourism recovery

Image source: Solomon Airlines

Solomon Airlines has marked Independence Day 2020 by announcing a series of domestic travel specials, and by providing further flexibility and support for passengers booking future international travel.

The airline is continuing to operate flights to its 23 Solomon Islands domestic destinations and today announced special fares and holiday deals across its network.

Save 10 per cent with 14-day advance purchase fares

New 14-day Advance Purchase fares have been announced on selected routes including travel between Arona, Atoifi, Ballalae, Bellona, Choiseul Bay, Fera, Kirakira, Kagau, Lomlom, Manaoba, Marau, Parasi, Santa Ana, Santa Cruz and Honiara.

These fares offer a 10 per cent discount off regular return economy prices for customers who book at least two weeks in advance and are valid for travel from 3 August to 15 December 2020.

Helpful Holidays’ destinations expanded

Solomon Airlines has also announced the next phase of its popular ‘Helpful Holidays’ tourism initiative now including Suavanao.

In addition to Seghe, Munda, Marau and Gizo, the discounted holiday packages for travel between 31 July and 31 August 2020 are developed in conjunction with accommodation partners and offer savings of up to 50 per cent off regular prices.

Making future travel easier for existing international passengers

Solomon Airlines passengers who had bought tickets on or before 28 March 2020 that were impacted by their international flight suspensions have been offered ticket validity extensions to use their tickets for travel all the way to 31 December 2021.

The airline will also offer Belama Club members holding 2020 memberships credits for a renewed membership once the Belama Lounge at Honiara International Airport reopens.

Solomon Airlines has also introduced a newly developed chatbot accessible via the homepage of the airline’s website. The interactive chat window launched this month, is designed to help guests with queries related to COVID-19 and Solomon Airlines policies.

Finnair reopens Helsinki Schengen lounge


Finnair Lounge at Helsinki Airport’s Schengen area has opened to customers.

The lounge is open from 6am to 10am and from 2pm until 8pm with a limited selection of food and beverages. The lounge services will be operated with reduced capacity and extra cleaning to support high hygiene standards.

Customers who are going on a non-Schengen flight and are eligible for lounge access may use the lounge in the Schengen area. Finnair’s lounges on the airport’s non-Schengen area will remain closed.

Finnair will also launch the airline’s new “Clean Kit” that will be distributed to all passengers from the beginning of July. The kit contains hand sanitiser, surface wipes, an information leaflet and is packaged within an envelope that acts as a waste container.

The kit has a special sustainable focus and features artwork by Finnish artist Reeta Ek, with paper products sourced using sustainable Finnish forestry fibres; the hand sanitiser has been supplied by Kyrö distillery, which is best known for its award-winning gin.

Kyrö pivoted to providing hand sanitiser to the healthcare industry when the pandemic first started.

Aeronology accepted into ATPCO’s Bridge Labs Program

Melbourne-based travel technology business Aeronology has been accepted into ATPCO’s Bridge Labs Program.

“Aeronology now has access to Bridge Labs APIs that allow us to connect and explore the most complete set of worldwide air travel content,” Aeronology chief executive Russell Carstensen said.

“Our success starts with the connection to ATPCO, the four global GDS’ (Sabre, Travelport, TravelSky and Amadeus), as well as being part of the end transactional environment via IATA.”

Aeronology is now part of the exclusive Accelerator programs with ATPCO and IATA.


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