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Friday, November 27th, 2020

WASB gets airport slot use relief while flight numbers remain suppressed

The Worldwide Airport Slot Board (WASB) which comprises the Airports Council International (ACI World), the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and the Worldwide Airport Coordinators Group (WWACG) has pushed worldwide regulators to be more flexible with slot rules while airlines struggle to cope with heavily reduced schedules.

The intention behind the push for flexibility is to preserve essential air transport connectivity. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a 65% drop in direct city pair connections during Q1 2020 and slot-regulated airports handle roughly 50% of all passengers, creating a backbone for the global scheduled airline network. Where recovery is concerned, this will be heavily dependent on new rules which will govern the use and retention of airport slots.

Previous rules were temporarily suspended for the summer and winter seasons of 2020, but flexibility will still be required while traffic volumes recover as it is unlikely they will exceed 2019 levels by more than 25% by the summer of 2021. Consequently, the WASB has recommended that airlines which return a full series of slots by early February to be permitted to retain the right to operate them in summer 2022. Additionally, there should be a lower operating threshold for retaining slots the following season. In normal industry conditions this is set at 80-20. The WASB recommends this be amended to 50-50 for Summer 2021.

Finally, there needs to be a clear definition for acceptable non-use of a slot. For example, force majeure as a result of short-term border closures or quarantine measures imposed by governments. “It is vital that regulators quickly adopt the WASB proposals on a globally harmonized basis. Airlines and airports need certainty as they are already planning the 2021 Summer season (which begins in April) and have to agree schedules. Delays in adopting new rules will further damage the industry at a time when industry finances, and 4.8 million jobs in air transport, hang by a thread,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “Creating a globally-compatible approach to the crucial issue of airport slots is an important part of underpinning a recovery of aviation,” said Luis Felipe de Oliveira, Director General of ACI World, while Fred Andreas Wister, Chairman, WWACG commented that “WWACG welcome the possibility to work out a common ground together with IATA and ACI World for the preparation of the 2021 Summer season.”


Delta to launch first quarantine-free, COVID-free travel to Europe

Delta Air Lines, the Aeroporti di Roma and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport have joined in a trans-Atlantic COVID-19 testing program that will enable quarantine-free entry into Italy, in accordance with a decree expected to be issued soon by the government of Italy.

“Carefully designed COVID-19 testing protocols are the best path for resuming international travel safely and without quarantine until vaccinations are widely in place,” said Steve Sear, Delta President – International and Executive Vice President - Global Sales. “Safety is our core promise – it’s at the center of this pioneering testing effort and it’s the foundation of our standards for cleanliness and hygiene to help customers feel confident when they fly Delta.”

Delta has engaged expert advisors from Mayo Clinic, a global leader in serious and complex healthcare, to review and assess the customer-testing protocols needed for Delta to execute a COVID-tested flight program.

Starting Dec. 19, Delta’s dedicated trial will test customers and crew on newly relaunched flights from Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport to Rome-Fiumicino International Airport. The tests will exempt from quarantine on arrival in Italy all U.S. citizens permitted to travel to Italy for essential reasons, such as for work, health and education, as well as all European Union and Italian citizens.

To fly on Delta’s COVID-tested flights between Atlanta and Rome, customers will need to test negative for COVID-19 through:
  • A COVID Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test taken up to 72 hours before departure
  • A rapid test administered at the airport in Atlanta before boarding
  • A rapid test on arrival in Rome-Fiumicino
  • A rapid test at Rome-Fiumicino before departure to the United States
Customers also will be asked to provide information upon entry into the U.S. to support CDC contact-tracing protocols.


German Bundeswehr orders 31 NH90 helicopters

The German Bundeswehr has ordered 31 NH90 helicopters, to be known as Sea Tiger, for the German Navy’s shipborne operations. The helicopters will replace the  German Navy’s Sea Lynx Mk88A fleet which entered into service in 1981. The Bundeswehr  has already ordered 18 NH90 Sea Lion naval transport helicopters, seven of which have  already been delivered. 

The widespread use of the NH90 TTH by the German Army and the NH90 NFH by the German Navy enables considerable synergies in terms of logistics and training. Naval flight crews and technical staff have already been undergoing basic NH90 training together with the Army’s NH90 crews since the introduction of the Sea Lion. 

Both the Sea Tiger and the Sea Lion are derivatives of the NH90 NFH. The Sea Tiger is based on the Sea Lion configuration, enhanced by mission capabilities and equipment in order to carry out their specific tasks. In addition to reconnaissance and transport, the shipborne Sea Tigers missions include engaging targets above and below the surface. For this purpose, the Sea Tiger is, amongst others, equipped with an active dipping sonar, passive sonar buoys, and weapons (torpedoes and missiles).


NAC delivers one Embraer E190 on lease to Airlink

Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC) has confirmed the delivery of one Embraer E190, MSN 19000187, on lease to privately-owned, regional airline Airlink.

Airlink is the largest, privately-owned, regional airline with the widest network throughout Southern Africa. With the launch of its new livery and now operating independently, Airlink is able to offer more freedom, more choices and more travel opportunities. Airlink has more than 50 commercial jetliners. In 2019, the airline carried 2 million customers on more than 63 000 flights, on 62 routes to 40 destinations in nine African countries and St. Helena Island.

Embraer installs HEPA filters on ERJ 145 jets

With the main goal of supporting customers of the 50-seat ERJ 145 jet in their search for solutions to increase passenger safety and prevent the potential transmission of viruses on board, Embraer recently released a service bulletin that allows ERJ 145 operators to install high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. The kits for the first 70 aircraft are already being assembled and should be delivered by mid-December.

It took about five and a half months to develop this solution. During that time, Embraer selected the filter and worked through the necessary steps to create the service bulletin, manufacturing and purchasing several of the required parts to develop the kits. Additionally, Embraer is expecting to complete the same initiative for the ERJ 135 and ERJ 140 very soon.

In most aircraft, the air in the cabin is completely refreshed between 20 and 30 times per hour, which is significantly more often than in an office environment and even five to six times more often than in a hospital environment. HEPA filters, which are standard on all versions of the Embraer E-Jets and E-Jets E2 families of commercial aircraft, are extremely efficient, capturing 99.97% of airborne particles and other biological contaminants, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

This technology is also available on Embraer Executive Jets, with the HEPA filter now standard on both the Praetor 500 and Praetor 600.


Savback Helicopters opens in the U.K.

Savback Helicopters AB is establishing a presence in the U.K. for the first time with the appointment of Rick Andrew as Commercial Director, effective immediately.  Andrew joins the family-owned business from Sloane Helicopters, the long-established Robinson and Leonardo Helicopters U.K. sales distributor. He was close to the Robinson helicopter community in his former role, as sales and business development manager, working across piston and turbine markets.

As well as supporting existing Savback customers, Andrew will work with the team to identify new owners and opportunities.  He will also represent the evolving Savback brand at European and U.K. shows in 2021, including Aero Expo and Private Flyer.

Andrew's arrival is the first step in a wider strategic plan by the specialist, independent helicopter sales brokerage, coinciding with its 21st anniversary. 

Jet Aviation Geneva gains Part 145 approval from Civil Aviation Authority in Russia

Jet Aviation's maintenance facility in Geneva has received approval from the Russian Federation Civil Aviation Administration (RFCAA). The
approval permits the company to support aircraft that are registered in Russia to the full extent of its maintenance approvals.

Jet Aviation Geneva offers full heavy maintenance services for the Bombardier Global Express series, Gulfstream aircraft and Boeing business jets (BBJ). With this new approval, the company is authorized to provide line and base maintenance to these Russian-registered aircraft types.

“Russia has a significant fleet of private aircraft and we are delighted to receive this important approval from the Russian civil aviation authority,” said Edgar Guerreiro, Senior Director MRO & FBO and General
Manager Geneva. “This authorization provides Russian owners and operators the comfort and security of knowing our team of dedicated maintenance professionals is here for them when they fly through the
region. We look forward to welcoming them to our facility in Geneva.”


IAG Cargo restarts London to South Korea

IAG Cargo, the cargo division of International Airlines Group (IAG) has announced a return of its direct service from the United Kingdom to South Korea, a route that was paused due to the pandemic.

South Korea is a high growth market for U.K. exports, and is one of the largest exporters in the world, with its top exports being electronics and automotive parts. The London Heathrow – Seoul-Incheon route is also significant for the export of pharmaceutical goods, which can be moved seamlessly using IAG Cargo’s Constant Climate service. The London Heathrow – Seoul-Incheon service, will run year-round, three times per week on 787s and marks another important development in IAG Cargo’s work to support key trade routes for its customers.

The return of this route is the latest in a series of restarts for IAG Cargo, such as its London Heathrow service into Japan restarting last month.

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Tamar Jorssen
Vice President Sales & Business Development
Email: tamar.jorssen@avitrader.com
Phone: +1 (788) 213 8543