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INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL MAY DRIVE MAY AIR TRAFFIC RECOVERY
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced passenger data for May 2022 showing that the recovery in air travel accelerated heading into the busy Northern Hemisphere summer travel season.
Note: We have returned to year-on-year traffic comparisons, instead of comparisons with the 2019 period, unless otherwise noted. Owing to the low traffic base in 2021, some markets will show very high year-on-year growth rates, even if the size of these markets is still significantly smaller than they were in 2019.
Total traffic in May 2022 (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) was up 83.1% compared to May 2021, largely driven by the strong recovery in international traffic. Global traffic is now at 68.7% of pre-crisis levels.
Domestic traffic for May 2022 was up 0.2% compared to the year-ago period. Significant improvements in many markets were masked by a 73.2% year-on-year decline in the Chinese domestic market due to COVID-19 related restrictions. May 2022 domestic traffic was 76.7% of May 2019.
International traffic rose 325.8% versus May 2021. The easing of travel restrictions in most parts of Asia is accelerating the recovery of international travel. May 2022 international RPKs reached 64.1% of May 2019 levels.
"The travel recovery continues to gather momentum. People need to travel. And when governments remove COVID-19 restrictions, they do. Many major international route areas - including within Europe, and the Middle East-North America routes - are already exceeding pre-COVID-19 levels. Completely removing all COVID-19 restrictions is the way forward, with Australia being the latest to do so this week. The major exception to the optimism of this rebound in travel is China, which saw a dramatic 73.2% fall in domestic travel compared to the previous year. Its continuing zero-COVID policy is out-of-step with the rest of the world and it shows in the dramatically slower recovery of China-related travel," said Willie Walsh, IATA's Director General.
International Passenger Markets
European carriers' May 2022 traffic rose 412.3% versus May 2021. Capacity rose 221.3%, and load factor climbed 30.1 percentage points to 80.6%. The impact of the war in Ukraine remained limited to areas directly impacted.
Asia-Pacific airlines had a 453.3% rise in May 2022 traffic compared to May 2021. This is significantly higher than the 295.3% year-on-year gain registered in April 2022. Capacity rose 118.8% and the load factor was up 43.6 percentage points to 72.1%. Improvements in the region are being driven by reduced restrictions in most of the region's markets, except China.
Middle Eastern airlines' traffic rose 317.2% in May 2022 compared to May 2021. May capacity rose 115.7% versus the year-ago period, and load factor climbed 37.1 percentage points to 76.8%. The progressive re-opening of Asian markets is boosting traffic through Gulf hubs.
North American carriers experienced a 203.4% traffic rise in May 2022 versus the 2021 period. Capacity rose 101.1%, and load factor climbed 27.1 percentage points to 80.3%. With most restrictions removed for travellers from this region, tourism and a high willingness to travel continue to foster the international recovery as several other route areas are now outperforming 2019 results.
Latin American airlines' May 2022 traffic rose 180.5% compared to the same month in 2021. May 2022 capacity rose 135.3% and load factor increased 13.5 percentage points to 83.4%, which was the highest load factor amongst the regions for the 20th consecutive month. Some routes, including those from Central America to Europe and to North America, are outperforming 2019 levels.
African airlines had a 134.9% rise in May 2022 RPKs versus a year ago. May 2022 capacity was up 78.5% and load factor climbed 16.4 percentage points to 68.4%, the lowest among regions.
India's domestic RPKs rose 405.7% year-on-year in May 2022, compared to the 78.6% increase recorded in April 2022. In May 2021, India had experienced the country's most severe COVID-19 outbreak.
US domestic traffic was up 26.1% in May 2022, compared to May 2021.
2022 vs 2019
The strong results in most international and domestic markets compared to a year ago is helping passenger demand catch-up to 2019 levels. Total RPKs in May 2022 reached 68.7% of May 2019 levels, which was the best performance against pre-COVID-19 travel so far this year.
Air Passenger Market overview - May 2022 vs the same month in 2019
The Bottom Line
"The recovery in travel markets is no less than impressive. As we accelerate towards the peak summer season in the Northern Hemisphere, strains in the system are appearing in some European and North American hubs. Nobody wants to see passengers suffering from delays or cancellations. But passengers can be confident that solutions are being urgently implemented. Airlines, airports and governments are working together, however, standing up the workforce needed to meet growing demand will take time and require patience in the few locations where the bottlenecks are the most severe.
In the longer term, governments must improve their understanding of how aviation operates and work more closely with airports and airlines. Having created so much uncertainty with knee-jerk COVID-19 policy flip-flops and avoiding most opportunities to work in unison based on global standards, their actions did little to enable a smooth ramping-up of activity. It is unacceptable that the industry is now facing a potential punitive regulatory deluge as several governments fill their post-COVID-19 regulatory calendars. Aviation has delivered its best when governments and industry work together.
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ROLLS-ROYCE HAS COMMISSIONS ITS FIRST IN-HOUSE TEST STAND FOR MTU HYDROGEN ENGINES.
Rolls-Royce has commissioned its first in-house test stand for MTU hydrogen engines at its Augsburg site. "This marks another milestone on the road to climate-neutral products for energy supply," explained Andreas Schell, CEO of Rolls-Royce's Power Systems division, during the official commissioning in Augsburg. Over the past year and a half, the company has invested around ten million euros at Rolls-Royce Solutions in Augsburg in test bench modernization, hydrogen infrastructure and other measures as part of its 'Net Zero at Power Systems' climate protection program.
Rolls-Royce had announced in 2021, as part of its 'Net Zero at Power Systems' sustainability program, that it would realign its product portfolio so that by 2030, sustainable fuels and new mtu technologies can achieve greenhouse gas emissions reduction of 35 percent compared to 2019. The company is now already successfully operating an mtu fuel cell system, has released its power generation gensets for sustainable fuels such as HVO (hydrotreated vegetable oils), and is developing electrolysers to produce green hydrogen. The mtu gas engine portfolio is being prepared for hydrogen as a fuel, thus enabling a climate-neutral energy supply.
"To reduce CO2 emissions in electricity supply, renewable, often decentralised, energy sources are needed to generate electrical energy on a much larger scale than today. In conjunction with these renewable sources, we see hydrogen as an essential energy carrier of the future. That is why we are doing everything we can to gradually bring our mtu gensets and CHP units based on the Series 500 and 4000 gas engines to market for operation with a hydrogen blending of 25 percent by volume (H2) and more and for operation with up to 100 percent by volume," said Dr. Otto Preiss, Rolls-Royce Power Systems Chief Technology Officer and COO.
The Power Systems division of Rolls-Royce has set itself strict targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in its own operations as part of its climate protection program: With ambitious interim targets for 2030, the company aims to be climate neutral worldwide by 2050, and in Germany as early as 2045. "The environmental protection measures now implemented at Rolls-Royce Solutions in Augsburg will benefit both the company and the city of Augsburg," explained Tobias Schnell, Managing Director of Rolls-Royce Solutions Augsburg GmbH. These included, for example, feeding residual industrial electricity into the public grid or using waste heat from the test stands to air-condition buildings. At the Augsburg site, (bio-)gas engines and, in the future, hydrogen engines are developed and tested, and gas engine-based systems are built and maintained, which are used, for example, in combined heat and power plants to generate electricity and heat.
PREMATURE RETURN TO PRE-PANDEMIC SLOT RULES RISKS CONTINUED PASSENGER DISRUPTION
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expressed concern that a premature return to pre-pandemic slot use rules in the EU this winter risks continuing disruption to passengers.
The European Commission has announced it intends to return to the longstanding 80-20 slot use rule, which requires airlines to operate at least 80% of every planned slot sequence. Global slot rules are an effective system for managing access to and the use of scarce capacity at airports. The system has stood the test of time and while airlines are keen to restart services, the failure of several key airports to accommodate demand, coupled with increasing air traffic control delays, means a premature return to the 80-20 rule could lead to further passenger disruption.
The evidence so far this summer has not been encouraging. Airports had the 2022 summer season schedules and final slot holdings in January and didn't evaluate how to manage this in time. Airports declaring that full capacity is available and then requiring airlines to make cuts this summer shows the system is not ready for reviving "normal" slot use this winter season (which begins at end of October).
"The chaos we have seen at certain airports this summer has occurred with a slot use threshold of 64%. We are worried that airports will not be ready in time to service an 80% threshold by the end of October. It is essential the Member States and Parliament adjust the Commission's proposal to a realistic level and permit flexibility to the slot use rules. Airports are equal partners in the slot process, let them demonstrate their ability to declare and manage their capacity accurately and competently and then restore the slot use next summer," said Willie Walsh, IATA's Director General.
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TAAG ADDS A NEW AIRCRAFT DASH 8 400 MODEL TO THE FLEET
TAAG Angola Airlines has been gradually reinforcing the fleet and recently received another DASH 8 400 model aircraft, increasing availability in domestic and regional connections overall. This aircraft is very reliable and above all, with lower operational cost when compared to other B737 models. Thus, is extremely efficient for domestic connections and suitable for medium-haul international routes such as Windhoek (Namibia), Maputo (Mozambique) or Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo).
The DASH 8 400 belongs to the turbo-propeller class, carrying 74 passengers, namely, 64 in economy class and 10 in business class. Symbolically, this aircraft was baptized as Dande and registered as D2-TFF, a highlight for Olívio Patrício (Captain) and Paulo Correia (Pilot) as they had the noble mission to bring the aircraft home.
Currently, the TAAG fleet comprises 21 aircraft, namely the Dash 8-Q400 (six aircraft), Boeing 737-700 (seven aircraft), Boeing 777-200 (three aircraft), and Boeing 777-300 (five aircraft).
The fleet diversification within (but not limited to) the DASH 8 400 new models bring greater profitability and cost savings to TAAG's operation, as well as balancing the ratio between the number of aircraft and destinations typologies (long-haul vs medium-haul).
Globally, and from a strategic point of view, this fleet optimisation allows the company to consider the potential/business case for (re)opening new routes geographically close to Angola.
The DASH 8 400 is a modern, fast, and comfortable aircraft, overall valuable benefits for passengers.
TAAG Angola Airlines was founded in 1938 and it is based in Luanda, Angola´s capital city. For more than 80 years TAAG has connected Angolans with its key domestic and international markets. TAAG is the leading airline in the country, recognised worldwide for its strong co-operate high yield market, having grown its current network to 14 domestic and 12 international destinations. Its fleet allows, in addition to passenger transport, air cargo services which have become essential for the Angola´s growth and development. TAAG is a company that prides itself from long and recognised history of service and performance improvement.
LOT POLISH AIRLINES, ONE OF THREE ANCHOR AIRLINES AT NEW YORK, JFK AIRPORT'S NEW TERMINAL ONE
The New Terminal One (NTO) is a state-of-the-art passenger terminal to be built at JFK International Airport in New York. The estimated cost of its construction is $9.5 billion. LOT Polish Airlines' presence at the NTO is the outcome of successful two-year long negotiations and a sign of recognition of the potential of Central and Eastern Europe's most important carrier.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), which operates John F. Kennedy International Airport, has signed a contract with the New Terminal One (NTO) consortium for a new terminal. Construction of the 220,000+ square metre facility is expected to begin in the summer of 2022.
NTO will be a state-of-the-art terminal with 23 contact stands (so-called sleeves) and will be financed by a private NTO consortium. Its companies include: Ferrovial as a lead sponsor, Carlyle, JLC Infrastructure and Ullico.
It is estimated that the project will generate more than 10,000 jobs, including more than 6,000 construction jobs. The new terminal will feature expansive public spaces, with cutting-edge technology and an array of amenities available to passengers and staff, all designed to make NTO one of the world's top-rated airport terminals.
LOT Polish Airlines, following over two years of successful negotiations with the NTO, has been awarded the status of one of the three anchor airlines for the new terminal at JFK Airport, alongside Etihad Airways and Air France. This is a special recognition for LOT, which has been present at New York Airport for almost 50 years.
"Our presence in New York dates back to 1973. It is no coincidence that the flight number from JFK to Warsaw is LO007. The management of the New York facility solicited this designator code to commemorate the movie "Live and Let Die" which was released that summer and starred legendary Roger Moore as Agent 007. For almost 50 years, we have been connecting people between Europe and this vibrant metropolis. Today, LOT is proud to be a major carrier at this state-of-the-art terminal. It is also a tribute to LOT Polish Airlines for its nearly 50 years of presence in New York. I would like to thank my team and our partners at NTO for their commitment and cooperation. Being among such an elite group of major carriers is a perfect start to another half-century of our New York adventure" - emphasised Rafal Milczarski, CEO & President of the Management Board, LOT Polish Airlines.
As co-host of the terminal, LOT will enjoy greater brand visibility at the NTO premises, and will also operate check-in desks and a two-storey business lounge with a direct access to the aircraft.
When completed, the NTO will be the largest terminal at JFK Airport and will cater to all-international traffic. Its construction will be carried out in several stages, the first of which will be the construction of a new arrivals and departures hall. The launch of the first stage of this investment is scheduled for 2026. The entire construction works are expected to be completed in 2030.
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RYANAIR REOPENS BELFAST INTERNATIONAL BASE FROM SUMMER'23
Ryanair, the UK's largest and most reliable airline, recently announced its comeback to Belfast International Airport with a huge summer schedule following the reopening of its base from Summer'23. Ryanair will start with 12 routes from Belfast International, operating over 115 weekly flights, including exciting sun destinations such as Alicante, Faro, Barcelona-Girona and Malaga. Ryanair will also launch domestic services to East-Midlands, Edinburgh, London-Stansted and Manchester.
Ryanair's Belfast based fleet will comprise of 2 aircraft, representing a $200m investment and over 60 highly paid aviation jobs at Belfast International Airport and over 650 indirect jobs.
Ryanair's Belfast International Summer'23 schedule will deliver: Two based aircraft, $200m investment in Belfast, twelve new routes including Alicante, Faro, Barcelona-Girona, Malaga, Manchester, Milan-Bergamo and Stansted, over 115 flights per week and over 800 total jobs.
After two difficult years for tourism, Ryanair's return to Belfast International will allow holidaymakers to plan their Summer 2023 getaways to sunshine locations such as Alicante, Barcelona-Girona, Faro and Malaga early to ensure the lowest possible fares. Ryanair also looks forward to further connecting Belfast International to key cities such as Edinburgh, London-Stansted, Manchester, Milan-Bergamo and Paris-Beauvais.
Ryanair is leading the post-pandemic recovery across Europe with the help of traffic recovery schemes and lower airport charges. If the UK is to continue its recovery, the government needs to immediately support airlines by scrapping the aviation tax (APD) entirely for all flights. A 50% cut on domestic flights from April'23 is simply insufficient.
With 12 routes to choose from for Summer'23, Belfast International customers and visitors can already book a well-deserved getaway, flying on the lowest fares. To celebrate its return to Belfast International, Ryanair has launched a seat sale with fares available from just £19.99 which must be booked by the end of July'22 for travel from April - June'23, only on the Ryanair.com website.
From Belfast, Ryanair's Director of Commercial, Jason McGuinness said:
"At a time when other airlines are cutting their schedules and reducing their workforce, we are delighted to announce a new Ryanair base at Belfast International Airport with 12 exciting routes and 2 based aircraft representing an investment of $200m at Belfast International and the creation of over 800 direct/indirect jobs.
We are delighted to have reached a long-term agreement with Belfast International's management, which will underpin future Ryanair growth at the Airport over the coming years. Today's announcement, particularly our decision to launch close to 80 weekly domestic flights to/from East-Midlands, Edinburgh, London-Stansted and Manchester demonstrates that lower aviation taxes and competitive airport charges are the catalyst for long-term traffic growth and increased connectivity.
To enable additional investment from Ryanair (and other airlines) from next summer onward, the UK Government must immediately scrap aviation taxes for all flights, otherwise it will put the UK (an island-based economy) at risk of losing air traffic to competing European countries.
QATAR AIRWAYS UNVEILS PLATINUM, GOLD AND SILVER LOUNGES FOR PRIVILEGE CLUB MEMBERS AND ONE WORLD PARTNERS
Qatar Airways unveils Platinum, Gold and Silver lounges at its award-winning hub, Hamad International Airport (HIA), inviting Privilege Club loyalty members and One World Alliance card holders to access the dedicated lounge corresponding to their frequent flyer tier status when transiting through Doha.
The state-of-the-art lounge facilities, with stunning tarmac views, will provide a peaceful haven to Qatar Airways Platinum, Gold and Silver loyalty members, and One World Emerald and Sapphire card holders. The brand new facilities will offer new spaces where passengers can rest, unwind and enjoy some of Qatar Airways' renowned amenity products from Diptyque, and indulge in international cuisine and a wide beverage selection.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: "It is my pleasure to announce the opening of three premium frequent flyer programme lounges at Hamad International Airport, just in time for the peak Eid holiday. Our latest Platinum, Gold and Silver lounges demonstrate the airline's commitment to rewarding Privilege Club and One World Alliance members with coveted benefits that befit the service quality Qatar Airways is synonymous for. We look forward to welcoming passengers to experience our sophisticated, modern and spacious lounges when transiting through the World's Best Airport."
Qatar Airways Platinum, Gold and Silver Lounges offer an ideal space for relaxation or socialising with family and friends. Passengers can extend an invite to one guest using their plus-one complimentary access - eligible to Qatar Airways Platinum and Gold Privilege Club members, and One World Emerald and Sapphire members.
Qatar Airways Platinum Lounge South:
Located on concourse A of HIA, Qatar Airways Platinum Lounge South will be home to Qatar Airways Platinum loyalty members and One World Emerald card holders. The state-of-the-art lounge accommodates up to 140 passengers, and is equipped with a quiet area, a prayer room, a bar, a restaurant, and showers. Passengers are welcome to enjoy à la carte dining or buffet, and utilise the complimentary WiFi provided.
Qatar Airways Gold Lounge South:
Located on concourse A of HIA, Qatar Airways Gold Lounge South will be home to Qatar Airways Gold loyalty members and One World Sapphire card holders. The newly inaugurated lounge has the capacity to accommodate up to 85 passengers, and offers an array of services including family seating, a bar, a dining area, a full buffet dining experience, showers, and complimentary WiFi.
Qatar Airways Silver Lounge South:
Located on concourse B of HIA, Qatar Airways Silver Lounge South will be home to Qatar Airways Silver loyalty members. First opened in March 2022, the lounge accommodates up to 195 passengers, offering meeting rooms, a family area, a quiet area, buffet dining and baggage storage facilities.
AIR NEW ZEALAND INCREASES CAPACITY TO LOS ANGELES AND SEOUL
Air New Zealand will boost capacity between Auckland and two of its popular destinations - Los Angeles and Seoul, adding an additional 21,200 seats between the two routes. Between 15 August and 29 October 2022, Air New Zealand will increase frequency between Auckland and Los Angeles from seven to ten services per week on its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft to complement its daily Boeing 777 service.
Services between Auckland and Seoul will increase from one per week to two a week between 12 September and 24 October 2022 and will operate on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.
Air New Zealand Chief Customer Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty says the changes come in response to pent up demand from customers travelling in both directions.
"With the New Zealand border fully opened and the reduction in Covid travel restrictions, customers are telling us they're ready to travel. With the return of international tourism, these additional flights will give customers more options and opportunities to experience the joy of travel once again."
"The extra capacity will add 33% more seats on the Los Angeles route each week and double that on Seoul. This extra capacity will ensure we meet the growing demand we've been seeing for travel over the last month."
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