Compiled by Willie Bodenstein
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THIS WEEK IN AIRLINES, AIRPORTS AND AIRLINERS
Bermuda Suspends Russian Aircraft Airworthiness Certificates.
KLM cancelling flights to Russia.
Digital vaccine proofs, air travellers with disabilities and assistance to aircraft accident victims and their families among range of latest priorities addressed in new ICAO standards.
Embraer Introducing E-Jet cargo conversions.
Arajet, new airline in Caribbean, orders 20 737 MAX jets.
Brussels Airlines supports international Women's Day with and all-female flight crew to Marseille.
Aer Lingus reconnects Shannon with the United States.
Qatar Airways to Resume Flights to London Gatwick.
LATAM estimates operation of 67% pre-pandemic capacity for March, maintaining trend of operational stability.
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BERMUDA SUSPENDS RUSSIAN AIRCRAFT AIRWORTHINESS CERTIFICATES
The Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA) has suspended the airworthiness certificates of all Bermuda-registered airplanes based and operated in the Russian Federation.
The so-called provisional suspension took effect on Saturday, effectively requiring what the BCAA characterized as "a significant number" of the more than 900 mostly commercial airplanes flying under the UK overseas territory's oversight to re-register in Russia to operate.
In a statement, the BCAA said that international sanctions imposed on Russia have compromised its ability to properly oversee the airworthiness of Russian aircraft operating under its registry. The move further compromises the Russian airline industry's ability to maintain viability and credibility amid the escalating conflict in Ukraine. It also affects an unknown number of Russian-owned, Bermuda-registered private jets.
The Kremlin is now considering nationalizing foreign assets in Russia, including aircraft owned by overseas banks and leasing companies and will likely expedite any re-registration processes for its airlines.
KLM CANCELLING FLIGHTS TO RUSSIA
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has decided to cancel all flights to Russia scheduled for departure in the next seven days. KLM will also cease operating flights that pass over Russian territory en route to other destinations in the same period.
This decision was prompted by sanctions agreed upon by EU states, stipulating that no spare aircraft parts may be sent to Russia, even if they are intended for the airline in question. This means KLM can no longer guarantee that flights to Russia or passing over Russian territory can return safely. Alternatives are currently being sought for flights scheduled to pass over Russian territory en route to other destinations.
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DIGITAL VACCINE PROOFS, AIR TRAVELLERS WITH DISABILITIES AND ASSISTANCE TO AIRCRAFT ACCIDENT VICTIMS AND THEIR FAMILIES AMONG RANGE OF LATEST PRIORITIES ADDRESSED IN NEW ICAO STANDARDS
? The ICAO Council has adopted a new set of international Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) addressing national civil aviation responses to public health emergencies as well as the security and inspection of travel and related health documents.
The new Amendment 29 to Annex 9 - Facilitation to the Chicago Convention also addresses a wider range of facilitation provisions relating to the conduct of relief and repatriation flights, air travellers with disabilities, assistance to aircraft accident victims and their families along with the use of civil aviation for the trafficking in persons. The new SARPs will become applicable in November 2022.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of passenger and cargo facilitation in assuring safe, efficient international aviation, especially in challenging times," explained ICAO Council President Salvatore Sciacchitano.
"Through their adoption of these new amendments, ICAO Council States have now addressed some important gaps which had been identified by an ad hoc task force it established, significantly reinforced Annex 9 in the process and making its framework much more fit for purpose to drive global harmonization across the full range of issues this Amendment has addressed."
The new public health standards adopted includes a requirement for countries to employ a multi-layered risk management approach when pursuing public health measures in the aviation sector to prevent or mitigate the spread of a communicable disease.
Further recommended is that states should issue digital vaccination certificates in line with WHO recommendations, and that the certificates should be interoperable with the specifications in the ICAO Technical Report Visible Digital Seal for non-constrained environments (VDS-NC).
The new public health standards also update requirements relating to aircraft and disinfection, emergency medical relief as well as the establishment of airport public health plans for preparing for, responding to and managing communicable disease outbreaks.
Regarding the inspection of digital health documents, Amendment 29 now requires countries to assist airlines in health proof evaluation to help deter fraud and abuse. Countries are also recommended to encourage airlines to have procedures in place to check and evaluate standardized health documentation related to air travel. It further recommends that governments consider automating the inspection of health-related documentation, or using contactless procedures.
With respect to the obligations placed on states to assure sufficient care and information for aircraft accident victims and their families, the Amendment now elevates former ICAO Recommended Practice 8.46, which requires countries to set out appropriate legislation and policies in this area, to an international standard.
The international regulatory framework on facilitation of transport of persons with disabilities was amended such that five previous recommended practices have now been elevated to standards, including provisions relating to the accessibility of flight service-related information for the hearing- and vision-impaired, the basic right to assistance for disabled travellers and the establishment of designated vehicle parking and drop off areas for disabled persons at passenger terminal buildings.
Lastly, the Annex 9 Recommended Practice concerning the establishment of measures to ensure that government procedures are in place to combat the trafficking in persons, now encourages states to realize this capacity based on a comprehensive strategy including clear reporting systems and relevant points of contact for airport and aircraft operators.
EMBRAER INTRODUCING E-JET CARGO CONVERSIONS
We've just launched a new freighter program that will right-size the cargo industry with E-Jets. In response to the explosive growth in e-commerce and increased demand for cargo capacity, especially to smaller markets, we've developed a program to convert pre-owned E190s and E195s from passenger jets to freighters. First deliveries are planned for 2024.
Rather than simple quick-change procedures in which seats are removed from passenger cabins, our E-Jet freighters have structural modifications. Overhead bins are removed, there are new smoke detection and fire suppression systems, the main deck floor is reinforced and has a cargo handling system and there is a new forward cargo door.
What really makes the E-Jet freighters attractive is their ability to offer optimized loading configurations. Cargo carriers can therefore maximize efficiency by better matching capacity to demand. The E-Jet freighters offer greater frequency and better operating economics in smaller markets than larger aircraft.
How much can our E-Jets freighters carry? Combining under-floor bulk cargo and main deck, the maximum gross structural payload is 13,150kg for the E190F and 14,300kg for the E195F. Considering typical e-commerce cargo density and main deck configured with ULDs, the net weights and volumes are also impressive:
The range and payload capacity of the E195F is similar to the B737-300SF (nearly 2,500 nm) yet the E195F burns less fuel, generates fewer emissions and has lower maintenance and cash operating costs.
Our E-Jet freighter conversion program is another example of an innovative solution to an emerging market opportunity. They are, in fact, bringing the concept of right-sizing to the cargo industry by tapping the gap between turboprop and larger narrow body freighters.
Cargo airlines can now put right-capacity E190F and E195F freighters on the right routes with the right frequency and right economics. Moreover, airlines can now access new smaller markets while deploying their larger aircraft on routes where they are more economical.
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ARAJET, NEW AIRLINE IN CARIBBEAN, ORDERS 20 737 MAX JETS
Boeing [NYSE: BA] and Arajet has announced that the new Caribbean airline has ordered 20 737 MAX airplanes, specifically the high-capacity 737-8-200 model, to deliver low operating costs and expand affordable travel options in the Americas.
Arajet also has options to purchase 15 additional 737 MAX jets which, along with existing lease agreements, could take the airline's new fuel-efficient fleet to 40 airplanes. The aircraft order was finalized in January and is currently attributed to an unidentified customer on Boeing's Orders and Deliveries website.
"The efficient Boeing 737 MAX, together with financial and operational support from our partners at Griffin and Bain Capital, gives us the solid foundation necessary to provide flights at affordable prices to travellers in the region," said Victor Pacheco Mendez, founder and executive officer of Arajet. "These partners believe in our vision and see the same bright future for this market and beyond. The entire team was elated to see our first aircraft arrive in Santo Domingo a few days ago and we are eager to expand our fleet with more of these amazing jets in the months ahead."
The airline hosted a launch event at its new hub in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Positioned between North and South America, this location in the Caribbean will leverage the range of the 737 MAX to efficiently serve a large number of traditional and underserved markets in the continental United States, Brazil, Colombia and beyond. The 737 MAX can fly further and uses 20% less fuel than prior generation aircraft. Other key benefits of Arajet's new fleet include better environmental performance with a 40% reduction in community noise and lower emissions.
Arajet's first jet, a 737-8 leased from Griffin Global Asset Management, was delivered in early March. The jet was toured by
Dominican President Luis Abinader, who attended the launch event, along with industry, government and tourism officials. As travel and tourism recovers globally, Arajet will bring approximately 4,000 new jobs and significant new economic development to the island nation. Tourism makes up 8.4% of the Dominican Republic's GDP.
"The 737 MAX is the perfect fit for Arajet and it's an honour to welcome this exciting new operator to the Boeing family," said Mike Wilson, vice president of sales, Latin America & Caribbean, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "Flying an exclusive 737 MAX fleet will enable Arajet to save on fuel, maintenance and operations costs and pass those savings on to its customers."
BRUSSELS AIRLINES SUPPORTS INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY WITH AND ALL-FEMALE FLIGHT CREW TO MARSEILLE
On the occasion of International Women's Day, an all-female crew flight departed from Brussels Airport to Marseille. Brussels Airlines is committed to diversity in all its departments, as diverse perspectives lead to better decision-making. In its top management, 37.5% of positions are held by women. On International Women's Day, the company puts extra emphasis on the number of women and their roles in the organization. Under the theme "break the bias," the company wants to encourage men and women to put aside prejudices about typically male or female professions.
Under the theme "#Breakthebias", everyone worldwide is asked to imagine a world without prejudice, stereotypes and discrimination; a world that is diverse, just and inclusive; a world where differences are valued and celebrated. Brussels Airlines supports the initiative and wishes to highlight the important role of women in aviation.
With an all-female crew, Brussels Airlines flight SN3597 made its trip from Brussels to Marseille. Captain Ann and First Officer Mio did duty in the cockpit. Purser Vanessa and cabin crew members Aurélie and Katrien took care of the service and safety in the cabin. With this symbolic flight, Brussels Airlines wants to draw extra attention to gender equality in aviation.
"My dad was a pilot and I really wanted to follow in his footsteps. I remember very well how, thirty years ago, I said "I'm going to be a pilot." People laughed, "You? Pilot? That is why I am particularly proud that a flight with two women in the cockpit at Brussels Airlines is no longer an exception. Even though at Brussels Airlines we are with more than 10% female pilots well above the average percentage worldwide, we still have to increase that number significantly. Not only here but also in other countries, where becoming a female pilot is often still not an option at all. It is therefore important to continue to fight for equality in the cockpit and in other professions that are still too often seen as typically male. I hope that together with Brussels Airlines, we can inspire girls and women to make their dreams come true and choose the profession they really want to do, even if it is not an obvious choice."
- Ann Van Grieken, Captain A320 at Brussels Airlines
In addition to women in the cockpit and other operational roles, Brussels Airlines also values gender diversity in its management. IATA (International Air Transport Association) has set the goal of having at least 25% women in top management roles in all airlines by 2025. At Brussels Airlines, the target is 35%. In reality, however, women hold 37.5% of the positions in Brussels Airlines' top management today. In general, the male-female split at the Belgian carrier is 51.5% women, with the cabin crew departments (71.5%) and airport staff (75%) having the highest proportion of women. In the cockpit, the proportion is 10% at Brussels Airlines, where the industry average is between 4 and 5%. Also, in the Maintenance & Engineering department, a still male dominated world, 4% of Brussels Airlines employees are women.
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AER LINGUS RECONNECTS SHANNON WITH THE UNITED STATES
Aer Lingus recently restarted its transatlantic services from Shannon, reconnecting the mid-west of Ireland with the US. These are the latest transatlantic routes from Aer Lingus to resume since the lifting of travel restrictions to the US and marks the first transatlantic flight between Shannon airport and the US since March 2020.
The restart of these flights is critical in restoring regional connectivity and Aer Lingus is the only airline flying to Boston and New York -JFK this summer, with 14 flights a week from Shannon to the US.
Summer 2022 will see Aer Lingus fly its largest transatlantic seat capacity from Shannon in 17 years as it operates two next generation A321 NEO LR aircraft from the airport. The state-of-the-art aircraft promise a more innovative and sustainable travel experience, boasting greater fuel-efficiency, with a 15% reduction in fuel burn, compared to a A321CEO and a 50% reduction in noise footprint compared to previous generation aircraft. Offering both a Business Class cabin with 16 fully lie-flat seats, fine dining and complimentary Wi-Fi, and an Economy Class cabin with complimentary meal and snack and soft drink in-flight, top inflight entertainment including the latest movie releases, TV boxsets, games and music.
Aer Lingus will operate 14 direct routes between Ireland and North America in 2022, including New York, Miami, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orlando, Washington, Seattle and Philadelphia.
Speaking on the route restart, Donal Moriarty, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Aer Lingus said:
"We are delighted to resume our transatlantic routes from Shannon to Boston and New York, restoring regional connectivity to the mid-west of Ireland and allowing Aer Lingus to unite friends, families and businesses once more.
This summer we will be operating our largest transatlantic seat capacity from Shannon in 17 years. Aer Lingus customers will avail of a more innovative and sustainable travel experience as they travel across the Atlantic in our two A321LR neo which will operate from Shannon airport and our unique warm Aer Lingus welcome.
As always, customers flying to North America with Aer Lingus will enjoy complimentary meals and drinks, endless hours of in-flight entertainment, Wi-Fi on board and US Customs and Border pre-clearance at Shannon airport."
Mary Considine, CEO of Shannon Group said: "The links between the US and the West of Ireland are a huge part of Shannon's story. We are delighted to mark another milestone in the airport's recovery with the re-establishment of crucial US air links that were suspended as a result of the pandemic.
"It is a fantastic day for our passengers, our staff, the broader airport community and the US Customs and Border Protection team here at Shannon Airport. The restoration of these daily vital U.S. services will be a welcome boost for the West of Ireland economy and will see friends, family and business communities reconnected."
In order to make travel easier when travelling to the United States, Aer Lingus has partnered with VeriFLY. By downloading the VeriFLY app and uploading Covid-19 related documentation required for their destination, Aer Lingus transatlantic customers can ensure that all their Covid-19 related documentation is verified before travel.
QATAR AIRWAYS TO RESUME FLIGHTS TO LONDON GATWICK
Qatar Airways is to resume flights to London Gatwick Airport from 5 June, 2022. The multi-award winning airline will operate a daily service from Gatwick to Doha using a state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner featuring 22 seats in Business Class and 232 seats in Economy Class. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is an environmentally advanced aircraft. It consumes 20 per cent less fuel and its carbon dioxide emissions are 20 per cent lower than other similar aircraft.
With the addition of daily flights to London Gatwick, passengers can now enjoy seamless connectivity to almost 150 destinations across the airline's extensive global network via the best airport in the world, Hamad International Airport, connecting with popular destinations across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australasia.
The resumption of the London Gatwick service complements recently launched flights to Doha from Gatwick by Qatar Airways' Joint Business partner British Airways, meaning the airlines can now jointly offer more options between London and Doha and beyond, earning Avios frequent flyer points as they go.
UK customers will now have access to four gateways including five-times daily services from London Heathrow, 18-times weekly from Manchester and four-times weekly from Edinburgh rising to daily from 2 June.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: "Our commitment to the UK market has been unwavering and we operated continuously and reliably throughout the pandemic, so I am pleased we can resume our popular service to London Gatwick. We offer excellent connectivity to and from the UK, providing travellers with more choice and convenience.
"This year is very special for us, not least as it is the 25th anniversary of the start of our flights to London Heathrow in March 1997."
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LATAM ESTIMATES OPERATION OF 67% PRE-PANDEMIC CAPACITY FOR MARCH, MAINTAINING TREND OF OPERATIONAL STABILITY
Within the context of international uncertainty that has resulted in high volatility in fuel prices, LATAM group estimates a passenger operation of up to 67% for March (measured in available seat kilometres - ASK) compared to the same month of 2019 (pre-pandemic scenario), continuing the trend of operational stability shown in recent months.
It is forecast that the domestic operations of Colombia and Brazil will drive the recovery compared to pre-pandemic levels, with estimated operational increases of 165% and 101% respectively. The operations of cargo subsidiaries are projected to reach levels equal to those prior to the global health crisis, with a 100% operational estimate for March.
One of the highlights of this month is the resumption of operations from Santiago (Chile) to Auckland (New Zealand) and Sydney (Australia).
LATAM plans to operate approximately 1,029 daily national and international flights during March, connecting 135 destinations in 20 countries. The cargo business has almost 1,200 cargo freighter flights scheduled with a level of utilization 7% higher on average than the same period in 2019. These projections are subject to the evolution of the pandemic, especially the latest cases of the Omicron variant in the countries where the group operates.
In February 2022, passenger traffic (measured in revenue passenger-kilometres - RPK) was 60.6% in relation to the same period in 2019, based on an operation measured in ASK (available seat kilometres) of 63.7% compared to February 2019. As a result, the load factor reached 79.8%.
With regard to cargo operations, the load factor was 61.5%, which corresponds to an increase of 9.2 percentage points compared to February 2019.
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