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Wednesday, April 8th, 2020

Lufthansa closes low-cost carrier Germanwings and shrinks fleet

Based on its long-term view of the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG has opted for strident measures to reduce capacity of flight operations and administration. The Board feels that while it will be many months before the airline industry will see any regrowth from current levels through the lifting of travel restrictions, it could well take many years before full confidence returns to global travel.

As a consequence, at Lufthansa, six Airbus A380s and seven A340-600s, as well as five Boeing 747-400s will be permanently decommissioned. In addition, eleven Airbus A320s will be withdrawn from short-haul operations. This will result in a reduction in capacity at the German carrier’s hubs at Munich and Frankfurt. Lufthansa Cityline will also withdraw three Airbus A340-300 aircraft from service.

Eurowings will greatly reduce its short-haul fleet by phasing out ten Airbus A320s, while long-haul operations will be heavily restricted. Germanwings, the Lufthansa low-cost operator operating under the Eurowings brand, will cease all operations. Subsidiaries Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines are going to further reduce capacity beyond that proposed by current restructuring programs, while SWISS International Airlines will reduce its fleet size by delaying deliveries and implement the early phase-out of older aircraft.

Virtually all wet leases with other carriers have been terminated. The major restructuring package has been implemented in order to protect as many jobs as possible at the Group and talks with unions and workers councils are to be arranged quickly to discuss, among other things, new employment models.

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Delta donates 200,000 pounds of food to people in need

Delta is providing more than 200,000 pounds of food to hospitals, community food banks and other organizations around the world to support people in need as well as those working tirelessly on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both perishable and non-perishable goods are being donated after Delta adjusted service offerings on board and in Delta Sky Clubs to reduce touchpoints between customers and employees. As a result, Delta has been left with food that would have expired before it could be served to customers. So employee teams are engaging organizations that can immediately use the food. Efforts to identify and support organizations globally will be ongoing as the airline is maneuvering through these unprecedented times.

Delta has longstanding relationships with organizations like Feeding America, a nonprofit network that helps support numerous food banks and where employees help repack more than 2 million pounds of food annually. During the pandemic, local Feeding America organizations are distributing the donations to those in need.

In addition, Delta is working to help long-term food service partners including Linton Hopkins, Newrest and Sodexo with resources they need to serve their communities.

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Finnair’s traffic figures decline significantly in March year-on-year

In March, Finnair carried 498,600 passengers which is 56.4% less than in the corresponding period of 2019. The overall capacity decreased in March by 39.4%. Finnair's traffic decreased by 55.2% and load factor decreased year-on-year by 20.3% points to 58.0%. All traffic figures were heavily impacted by the coronavirus, related route and frequency cancellations as well as travel restrictions.

AerCap leased, purchased and sold 53 aircraft in first-quarter 2020

AerCap has released its major business transactions during the first quarter 2020. The company signed lease agreements for 28 aircraft, including ten wide-body aircraft and 18 narrow-body aircraft and purchased seven aircraft, including five Airbus A320neo Family aircraft, one Boeing 787-9 and one Embraer E2 aircraft.

AerCap executed sale transactions for 18 aircraft, including five Airbus A320 Family aircraft, six Boeing 737NGs and one Boeing 747 aircraft from its owned portfolio and one Airbus A320 Family aircraft, two Airbus A330s, two Boeing B777-200ERs and one Boeing B777-300ER aircraft from its managed portfolio. AirCap is continuing to manage five aircraft that were sold from its owned portfolio during the quarter.

The company has signed financing transactions for approximately US$350 million.

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IATA predicts 25 million jobs at risk with airline shutdown

The International Air Transport Association has released new analysis showing that some 25 million jobs are at risk of disappearing with plummeting demand for air travel amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Globally, the livelihoods of some 65.5 million people are dependent on the aviation industry, including sectors such as travel and tourism. Among these are 2.7 million airlines jobs. In a scenario of severe travel restrictions lasting for three months, IATA research calculates that 25 million jobs in aviation and related sectors are endangered across the world:
  • 11.2 million jobs in Asia-Pacific
  • 5.6 million jobs in Europe
  • 2.9 million jobs in Latin America
  • 2.0 million jobs in North America
  • 2.0 million jobs in Africa
  • 0.9 million jobs in the Middle East
In the same scenario, airlines are expected to see full year passenger revenues fall by US$252 billion (-44%) in 2020 compared to 2019. The second quarter is the most critical with demand falling 70% at its worst point, and airlines burning through US$61 billion in cash.

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Etihad to test airport technology to help identify medically at-risk travellers

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, will partner with Australian company Elenium Automation to trial new technology which allows self-service devices at airports to be used to help identify travellers with medical conditions, potentially including the early stages of COVID-19.

Etihad will be the first airline to trial the technology, which can monitor the temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate of any person using an airport touchpoint such as a check-in or information kiosk, a bag drop facility, a security point or immigration gate.

The Elenium system will automatically suspend the self-service check-in or bag drop process if a passenger’s vital signs indicate potential symptoms of illness. It will then divert to a teleconference
or alert qualified staff on site, who can make further assessments and manage travellers as appropriate.

In partnership with Amazon Web Services, Elenium has also developed ‘hands free’ technologies that enable touchless use of self-service devices through voice recognition, further minimizing the potential of any viral or bacterial transmission.

Etihad will initially trial the monitoring technology at its hub airport in Abu Dhabi, capital of the UAE, at the end of April and throughout May 2020, initially with a range of volunteers, and, as flights resume, outbound passengers.

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Lufthansa Technik agrees on short-time working

Lufthansa Technik AG has reached an agreement with the bodies of co-determination and its operating partners to introduce short-time working. This applies to all German sites and companies with the exception of Lufthansa Technik AERO Alzey (LTAA) and Lufthansa Bombardier Aviation Services (LBAS). The agreement thus applies to around 12,000 employees and will initially run until August 31, 2020.

The scope of short-time working for employees is determined in relation to the loss of working hours and in consultation with the co-determination bodies responsible for the respective area. The loss of working hours and thus short-time working can amount to up to 100%. In order to keep the financial impact on employees as low as possible, Lufthansa Technik will initially top up the short-time working allowance paid by the Federal Employment Agency to 90% of the net salary lost through short-time working. This regulation applies to both tariff and non-tariff staff.

Managerial staff will also be put on short-time work due to the extensive reduction in workload. Lufthansa Technik AG will top up their short-time working allowance to 80% of their net salary. These employees had already voluntarily waived part of their salary.

Wherever possible in the respective countries, more than 30 international subsidiaries and affiliates of the Lufthansa Technik Group will seek similar arrangements.

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SWISS to perform more than ten cargo flights for Swiss healthcare institutions

SWISS is to perform a series of flights bringing vital protective medical equipment from China to Switzerland. The operation, which is extensively supported by the company’s Swiss WorldCargo airfreight division, is being conducted on behalf of the Zurich Cantonal Pharmacy and in collaboration with knechtcare / Welti-Furrer (the Knecht Group) and Männedorf Hospital. 

Under the operation, more than ten cargo-only SWISS Airbus A340 flights will be performed this month from Mainland China, bringing over 35 million personal protection items for the use of healthcare personnel including protective suits, medical gloves, safety goggles and breathing masks. All in all, the transports will amount to over 200 tons.

No passengers will be transported on these flights. They will only carry cargo, loaded in both the hold and the passenger cabin. The first such flight arrived from Shanghai in Zurich on Sunday April 5.

SWISS is also working with further partners to transport cargo from Switzerland to China which is of key importance to the Swiss export sector and to global goods flows.

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