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LATEST NEWS

Thursday, May 14th, 2020

TUI to shed 8,000 jobs as world’s largest holiday company suffers major cash squeeze

With the COVID-19 pandemic bringing international air travel to a standstill and millions of customers now demanding cash refunds for canceled trips TUI, the world’s largest holiday company has begun what it sees as only the first round of redundancies as it announces 8,000 staff, approximately 10% of its workforce, are being laid off. Despite the fact the German government has already backed a €1.8 billion (US$1.94 billion) loan, the UK government has refused to provide any financial assistance.

The company is struggling under pressure from regulators to ensure that travel agents and airlines strictly adhere to all rules under threat of prosecution. TUI CEO Fritz Joussen said: "It will be a different TUI and it will find a different market environment than before the pandemic. This will require cuts: in investments, in costs, in our size and our presence around the world. We must be leaner than before, more efficient, faster and more digital."

Under current EU rules, airlines must refund customers within seven days and travel agents within a fortnight. Currently, customers with the likes of easyJet and Ryanair are facing a months-long wait for a refund. As airlines struggle, they are looking for the relaxing of certain customer-protection laws but the International Air Travel Association (IATA) and the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) are supporting amendments to the regulations and law. Rafael Schvartzman of IATA said carriers are deeply disappointed that the European Commission has refused to budge. He said: “Millions of jobs are at risk if airlines collapse. Action from the Commission now would safeguard consumer protection and help airlines through the current crisis.”

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IATA opposes quarantine measures for arriving travelers

This week the UK has announced a mandatory 14-day quarantine as part of its plans when easing its lockdown. There are few details about how long and under what conditions. Similarly, Spain announced a 14-day quarantine measures on arrival would be in place there until at least 24 May and possible longer. IATA's Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac said that international travel cannot re-start under such conditions. In a recent survey that IATA did in 11 markets, 84% of travelers said that quarantine measures was one of their top concerns, and 69% essentially said that they would not return to travel under such conditions.

De Juniac stated that: "Our top priority is to re-start this industry safely. We are proposing a series of measures that we believe will give governments the confidence to re-open their borders. It is a risk-based layered approach to biosecurity that needs to be coordinated globally. That’s important. The arriving country must be confident of the procedures in place at the departing airport. And travelers will need the reassurance of common measures.

In the risk-based layered system that we are proposing there are temperature checks and other measures at departure to keep symptomatic travelers from flying. And a robust government managed system of health declarations and rigorous contact tracing can manage the risk form asymptomatic travelers. We oppose quarantine measures because the combination of these measures, if well-implemented globally, can manage the risks."

IATA is working with ICAO and other stakeholders to put in place an agreed risk-based layered system quickly to safely and efficiently restore global connectivity.

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EASA offers financial relief to aviation industry companies hit by COVID-19

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has agreed on concrete measures that will offer financial relief to companies in the aviation industry whose business has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. These measures take account of the continued sustainability of EASA and have been agreed with the support of the European Commission.

The Agency will for a limited period not charge interest in cases of late payment, as provided for in Article 4.3 of the Fees and Charges Regulation. For all invoices issued between February 1, 2020 and June 30, 2020, the late payment clock has been stopped and will restart only on July 1, 2020. July 1, 2020 will be considered as the 31st day of payment and therefore late payment interest will be applied from that day.

EASA will postpone the issuance of its regular invoices for annual fees for two months, from June to August. The annual invoices will be issued on August 1, 2020 and late payment interest will apply from the 31st day (so from August 31, 2020).

Personnel changes at Lufthansa Technik, seven departments under new management

Within the first half of 2020, the management of seven departments of Lufthansas Technik were newly appointed within the course of internal rotation.

Already on February 1, Dr. Alexander Feuersaenger took over the management of the Fleet Services product division in Frankfurt. Since March 1, Stephan Drewes has been heading in double-function the "IT Domain MRO" department together with the "Information Management Lufthansa Technik Group".

On April 1, Philip Mende took over the position as head of the Digital Fleet Solutions product division. His successor in the position as head of "Engines Parts Repair and Mobile Engine Services" is Michael Kirstein.

Also on April 1, Tim Butzmann has been appointed head of "Corporate Sales Africa & Middle East".

Andreas Drosdowski has been heading "Maintenance Europe" since April 1 and has also been appointed as new CEO of Lufthansa Technik Maintenance International. Michael von Puttkamer will become Head of Operations of the VIP & Special Mission Aircraft Services division on June 1.

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Amentum partners with IFS to optimise technology offerings for mission-critical customers

IFS, the global enterprise applications company, has announced a new partnership with Amentum, a premier global technical and engineering services firm. Amentum will integrate IFS Applications™ into its solutions for its clients in the government and aerospace and defence sectors, including the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Treasury, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration, and its many commercial clients.

Amentum supports critical programmes of national significance in areas including nuclear and environment; mission support and sustainment; threat mitigation; mission assurance; and strategic capabilities engineering in critical infrastructures, both in the US and abroad. IFS capabilities will be integrated within the Amentum SupplyTRACSM offering and will provide Amentum customers with leading-edge functionality for supply chain optimisation, asset management, predictive maintenance, and procurement. Amentum SupplyTRACSM is currently being leveraged as a comprehensive, integrated platform with numerous opportunities with the U.S. Government.

Amentum, based in Maryland and with a 20,000-strong workforce, was recently formed as an independent company following AECOM’s sale of its Management Services business to a private equity partnership. Amentum has been using IFS Applications internally since 2018 for supply chain management.

IAI expands TaxiBot to Schiphol, Amsterdam and Bangalore, India

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) with its partners TLD and SAS is expanding its TaxiBot operation and deployment to additional airports: Schiphol in Amsterdam and Bangalore Airport in India. With the COVID-19 crisis bringing the operations in airports to a near-halt, airports are using their time and space for testing various developments and ways to streamline their operations. The Amsterdam airport recently started a pilot of aircraft taxiing with the TaxiBot (taxiboting) to streamline the process. The airport at Bangalore, India, is also testing the system in order to start operating just after to COVID-19 closer will reopen.

The TaxiBot, which was developed by IAI’s aviation group and TLD, is a semi-robotic vehicle, which connects to the aircraft and is controlled by the pilot. It is used to taxi the aircraft (taxiboting) from the airport’s gate bridge to the runway and back without turning on the airplane’s Jet engines. The taxiboting process saves 85% of the fuel burned during taxying and similar savings in greenhouse gas emissions. Additional benefits of taxiboting include 60% noise reduction and 50%-reduction of damages caused by foreign objects getting sucked into the engines during taxiing. The TaxiBot streamlines aircraft’s entry and exit from the terminal area saving around 4 minutes per departure as measure during the routine daily operation at Delhi airport.

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SMEA becomes first air cargo carrier to achieve Republic of San Marino AOC certification

SMEA has become the first air cargo airline to achieve the Republic of San Marino AOC certification, having satisfied the CAR OPS 1 requirements for the certification.

SMEA extended its management services to cargo operations and started flying an A300-600R T7-ASK cargo aircraft towards the end of 2019. The company recently carried out 27 charter flights from China to Italy for transportation of important and much needed medical supplies.
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Tamar Jorssen
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Email: tamar.jorssen@avitrader.com
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