Aviation

Aviation Wrap: Virgin staff celebrate Bain Capital sale, Hawaiian Airlines removes change fees + MORE

Outside of making a fourth double-shot espresso (as our reporter did), this week’s Aviation Wrap is the best way to kill five minutes.

Virgin Australia staff welcome news of sale to Bain Capital

Joyful scenes were captured at Brisbane Airport on Friday afternoon with cabin crew, pilots, ground and engineering gathering for a photo opportunity to welcome the news that Virgin Australia creditors had voted up the sale of the airline to Bain Capital.

Image source: Virgin Australia

Creditors had convened earlier that day to cast their vote, with Virgin’s administrators recommending all along that Bain’s proposed deeds of company arrangement (DOCAs) would result in the best outcome for them and the airline’s future as it emerges from voluntary administration.

Hawaiian Airlines bids aloha to change fees

Hawaiian Airlines’ guests travelling between Hawaii and the United States mainland, its international destinations or within the Hawaiian Islands can now reschedule their flights without change fees.

The carrier, which has already been waiving change fees for guests who need to postpone their trip due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is extending the benefit to travellers across its entire network.

Shortlist announced to build Sydney’s new airport

Image source: Western Sydney Airport

The vision for Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport is a step closer to reality with three parties shortlisted to build the airport’s passenger terminal: Lendlease and CPB Contractors through a joint venture; Multiplex Constructions; and Watpac Construction.

Western Sydney Airport CEO Simon Hickey said in a statement the integrated international and domestic passenger terminal will offer passengers and their families a stress-free travel experience.

“The advantage of designing a new airport from the ground up is taking a fresh, new approach, learning from the global experiences of airports, passengers and airlines,” he said.

“As well as looking at what makes the world’s best airports work so well, we gained insights from our airline MOU partners that helped us design a terminal that will make catching a plane fast and easy.”

Design of Western Sydney International’s passenger terminal is ongoing and will be finalised when the winning contractor is appointed in mid-2021.

Terminal construction is due to begin by the end of 2021.

Adelaide to Sunny Coast flights resume

Queensland state Tourism Minister Kate Jones has announced Jetstar’s Adelaide to Sunshine Coast services have resumed thanks to support from the Queensland government.

The service has been suspended since March as a result of the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 but resumed last Tuesday, with two services per week in the first month, before adding a third service from October onwards.

Jones said the government’s $15 million aviation recovery fund had allowed Sunshine Coast Airport to fast track the recommencement of service.

Meanwhile, Gold Coast Airport’s flight schedule also doubled last Tuesday when Jetstar’s Cairns to Gold Coast service recommenced, having been fast-tracked due to support through the state’s aviation recovery fund.

Cathay Pacific to recommence flights from Perth

Cathay Pacific will recommence flights from Perth to Hong Kong and beyond, including Asia, Europe and North America.

The airline has announced it will operate a total of five outbound flights in September from Perth, commencing 3 September.

All new tickets issued up to 31 October 2020 are eligible for unlimited free changes.

Etihad Airways introduces global wellness insurance

Etihad Airways is introducing COVID-19 global wellness insurance cover as part of Etihad Wellness, the airline’s new health and hygiene program.

Under the new program, guests who are diagnosed with COVID-19 during their trip won’t have to worry about medical expenses or quarantine costs when they fly with Etihad.

Furthermore, all Etihad tickets, regardless of the date of the booking, travelling between now and 31 December 2020 will include COVID-19 insurance.

Guests with existing bookings don’t need to do anything – they are automatically enrolled in the program. The insurance is valid worldwide for 31 days from the first day of travel.

Sydney Airport successfully completes retail shortfall bookbuild

Sydney Airport has announced the successful completion of its retail shortfall bookbuild, which concludes its entitlement offer.

According to a release on the Australian Securities Exchange, Sydney Airport said the retail entitlement offer had raised gross proceeds of approximately $695 million from the issue of approximately 152 million new securities.

These were issued at an offer price of $4.56 per new security. Together with the institutional offer, which was completed on 14 August 2020, Sydney Airport has now raised approximately $2 billion.

United names new senior vice president of airport operations

Image source: iStock/Rusell Hendry

United Airlines has announced Mike Hanna as its new senior vice president of airport operations.

In this new role, Hanna will oversee the carrier’s worldwide airport operations, including United Ground Express, a wholly-owned subsidiary of United. This change is effective immediately.

“In his 22-year career with United, Mike has led from the heart, empowering employees and making strategic decisions that have continually fueled and supported United’s success,” Jon Roitman, the airline’s senior vice president and chief operations officer, said.

“I look forward to his leadership of the airport operations team as we help the best employees in the business navigate the challenges of the pandemic and begin to return our airline to the kind of culture, growth and prosperity we all want to see.”

Hanna currently serves as vice president of United’s Chicago O’Hare hub and has more than 25 years of aviation experience. He has held roles in all areas of airport operations, including cabin cleaning, lavatory servicing, fuelling, ramp and customer service.

“I look forward to continuing to work alongside the United team to move us forward during this unprecedented time and provide a great experience for our customers whenever and wherever they fly United,” Hanna said.

The news comes as United said it plans to fly 40 per cent of its full schedule in October 2020 compared to October of last year. In September, United expects to fly 34 per cent of its full schedule.

Emirates and flydubai reactivate partnership

Emirates and flydubai have announced that customers of both airlines can once again access a wider range of travel options around the world, connecting through Dubai.

Following the progressive resumption of passenger flights to global destinations, the two Dubai-based airlines have revived their partnership to offer customers increased connectivity, convenience and travel flexibility.

Emirates customers can now travel on codeshare flights to over 30 destinations on flydubai, while flydubai customers have over 70 destinations they can travel to on Emirates. Some of the favourite flydubai destinations for Emirates passengers include Belgrade, Bucharest, Kyiv, Sofia and Zanzibar.

Singapore Airlines eases PPS Club and KrisFlyer elite status renewal criterion

Image source: iStock/Jetlinerimages

Singapore Airlines has introduced new initiatives that will result in PPS Club and KrisFlyer Elite members requiring only half of the PPS Value or Elite miles that they would usually need to retain their current statuses beyond March 2021, and make it easier for them to earn status credits.

All PPS Club and KrisFlyer Elite memberships are now automatically extended by 12 months when they expire between March 2020 through to February 2021.

For memberships that expire between March 2021 and February 2022, SIA will credit 50 per cent of the PPS Value as Reserve Value or Elite miles required for renewal into the PPS Club and KrisFlyer Elite members’ accounts, respectively.

As a result, PPS Club and KrisFlyer Elite members need to accrue only half of the PPS Value or Elite miles required during the membership year to retain their statuses.

In addition, from 1 September until 15 October 2020, PPS Club and KrisFlyer Elite members can earn PPS Value or Elite miles on non-air spend and activities. This will also count towards their renewal of their membership statuses.

The news comes as Scoot, a subsidiary airline of Singapore Airlines, prepares to operate flights to Perth in September.

Korean Air extends content agreement with Travelport

Travelport has announced the renewal of a multi-year content agreement with Korean Air, South Korea’s largest airline and national carrier.

Under the agreement, Travelport will continue to provide Korean Air’s content and inventory to more than 68,000 Travelport-connected agencies around the world, enabling them to search, sell and book the airline’s fares.

Delta to present at the Cowen Global Transportation and Sustainable Mobility Conference

Delta Air Lines will present at the Cowen Global Transportation and Sustainable Mobility Conference at 8am (local time) on Wednesday 9 September 2020.

A live webcast of this event will be available at ir.delta.com. An online replay will be available at the same site shortly after the webcast is complete.

Qatar Airways resumes four weekly flights to Lagos, Nigeria

Qatar Airways will resume four weekly flights to Murtala Muhammed International Airport (LOS) in Lagos, Nigeria from 10 September 2020.

The services to Africa’s largest city will be operated by Qatar Airways’ state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner, featuring 22 seats in Business Class and 232 seats in Economy Class.

With the addition of Lagos, Qatar Airways’ network in Africa will expand to ten destinations with 44 weekly flights to the continent including Addis Ababa, Dar es Salaam, Djibouti, Kigali, Kilimanjaro, Mogadishu, Nairobi, Tunis and Zanzibar.


Featured image source: Virgin Australia

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